1. How do you think of the role and position of planted forests?
Planted forests are an important part of sustainable economies and land use. First, planted forests are a tool to produce wood and wood products around the world. FAO estimates that although planted forests are only 7% of the world’s forest, they produce more than 45% of the world’s industrial roundwood. Planted forests can also play an important role in the restoration of degraded lands, improving biodiversity and ecosystem services as a result. Both through production of wood and ecosystem services, planted forests can improve rural economies. These advantages of planted forests complement naturally regenerating forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, and other land uses, which produce important goods and services too. We have a useful book covering planted forests at a global scale, which can be accessed on our website (http://www.fao.org/forestry/24489-0e54aef5c0bee7238cf5ebd97931a4bb7.pdf); and, FAO’s recent report on the State of the World’s forest helps to drive home the importance of forest and planted forests for all humans’ needs (http://www.fao.org/state-of-forests/en/).
2. What is your impression on the development of planted forests in China?
According to FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment, (http://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/en/), China has the most land area in planted forests in the world. Planted forests development has helped China to increase its forest cover, forest growing stock, and to enhance its conservation of natural forests. Planted forests have thus contributed to China’s economy and social welfare as well as to global climate mitigation. In recent years, China has also been able to use planted forests to improve biodiversity and involve rural families to improve their incomes. As a result, there are many useful examples and many knowledgeable experts now in China that can help the global community understand when and how planted forests might improve all our lives.
Take for example an article on landscape restoration in China in a recent publication FAO produced with the Center for People and Forests (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5412e.pdf). In another example, China has been involved in international technical exchange on planted forests for many years through the International Poplar Commission (http://www.fao.org/forestry/64381/en/).
Photo: Jim Carle/FAO
3. What are the prospects and recommendations for the development of planted forests globally?
The trend is that planted forests will continue to increase in area. This is not only due to demand for wood and the need to restore degraded land, but also because planted forests are essential to reach global climate warming mitigation goals. Keeping that in mind, we need to do a lot of work together. We need to ensure planted forests come from a diverse and locally appropriate mix of species and genotypes; we need to see how planted forests fit in a landscape to complement other land uses; and we need to ensure that the advantages and benefits of planted forests reach the poor. FAO has developed a set of key principles useful to ensure planted forest is sustainable, which you will find here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/al248e/al248e00.pdf