FAO promotes forests and energy for International Day of Forests, Mar 21

“The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The theme for 2017 is Forests and Energy.” View short video at www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/

A google search failed to reveal much uptake of this celebration in Canada, but I was pleased to see Stanley Park being celebrated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society as a remnant coastal rainforest.

The short FAO video espouses forest bioenergy in all its forms, which made me cringe. It has not gone unnoticed otherwise:

Bioenergy Burns ForestsEnvironmentalists Denounce UNs Bioenergy Themed International Day of Forests
Joint press release by Global Forest Coalition, Biofuelwatch Timberwatch, Dogwood Alliance, International Tree Foundation

By calling forests “nature’s power house” [5], FAO wants to celebrate the use of forests and tree plantations for meeting people’s basic energy needs like cooking or heat, as well as for electricity, industry and potential biofuels for transportation.
FAO conflates both industrial-scale and traditional uses, and perpetuates the myth that industrial bioenergy is renewable and carbon neutral say’s the joint statement.

Forests: The Devastating Ecological and Social Impacts of Monoculture Tree Plantations(on globalresearch.ca, Mar 17 March 2017)

“For almost 70 years, the misleading FAO forest definition has served the tree plantations industry well. They have hidden the destruction caused when diverse forests, grasslands and peatlands overflowing with life are converted into ‘green deserts’ made up of monoclonal trees in straight rows behind the positive forest image provided by the FAO,” says Winfridus Overbeek, international coordinator of the World Rainforest Movement.

The article also notes that “Industrialized countries’ unsustainable energy demand combined with their new quest for ‘renewable’ energy is already converting forests in the global South into industrial ‘biomass’ plantations.”

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