We have been cutting trees to plant food crops, since the beginning of time. Forest cover loss is a major contributor to climate change – the biggest challenge of our times. So, we won’t save the world without saving forests.
However, while the connection between forests and climate is very well recognized, agriculture is an elephant in the room at the climate talks and a rare bird at the discussions about forestry.
International deforestation curbing policy infrastructure is well developed. It includes the New York Declaration on Forests, the Bonn Challenge, Initiative 20×20, AFR100 and now also the UN Strategic Plan on Forests 2017-2030, just to mention a few of its components.
These are all great, but throwing billions at conservation and afforestation won’t work without making agriculture sustainable and zero-deforestation. “Foresters must get out of the woods and focus more on deforestation drivers!” invokes Hans Hoogeveen (Ambassador to the FAO of the Netherlands) at “Forests, trees and agroforestry for food security and nutrition and the SDGs” side event during the 44th session of the Committee on World Food Security.