Forest News #7

Our November issue looks into the connections between forests, plantations and adaptations to climatic variations. We also look into the growing use of wood as a building material and the extraction of non-food resources from forests. Our selected video shows how small-scale farmers are often a crucial part of restoration and conservation efforts.

Going from planting coca to growing cocoa. This short video from the PUR Projet shows how a cooperative of small farmers in Peru adopted best-in-class agroforestry principles to make a more permanent transition from coca to cocoa, achieving higher yields and income while safeguarding local resources and biodiversity.

This month:

Forests & climate change

  • Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. In Latin America, as temperature and rainfall patterns change, the areas currently suitable for coffee production and the number of bees, which boost coffee production, will shrink. A recent study by CIFOR shows, however, that maintaining and restoring healthy forests near the coffee plantations can help to reduce the negative impacts of climate change by providing a permanent habitat for bees.
  • Apropos of climate, a theory linking forest cover and cyclonic storms is gaining acceptance. A group of physicists and ecologists suggests that because forests and cyclones share a fundamental relationship to atmospheric moisture and dynamics, less forest cover could mean more frequent and more powerful storms.


Timber & plantations

  • Building with wood is becoming more popular in Europe. In contrast to concrete and other man-made materials, locally harvested wood from sustainably managed has a small carbon footprint. In fact, many considered wood as the only significant renewable construction material. In Germany, about a quarter of residential homes and apartment buildings are now being built out of wood. In Norway, the world’s tallest wooden building, the Mjøsa Tower, is being built. The 18-storey building will stand over 80 meters tall and house offices, a hotel and apartments.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently launched the first voluntary guidelines for forest concessions in the tropics. The publication provides practical recommendations to plan, implement and monitor forest concessions to make them more sustainable, transparent and inclusive.


  • A reforestation project in Peruvian Amazon, Camino Verde, is working together with local farmers to restore degraded areas. The project promotes non-timber products such as essential oils and their efforts are now focused on canelón, a wild cinnamon tree. They are currently developing a protocol on collecting seeds, growing and planting seedlings, and sustainably harvesting the tree’s leaves and branches. To learn more about the project and its team, check this video.

Events to note

  • November 28, 18:30, Zurich – Switzerland: A Lecture by Tony Rinaudo – Right Livelihood Award 2018 (free registration link)
    Tony Rinaudo, honoured with the Right Livelihood Award 2018, will give a public talk at the University of Zürich. The entrance is free. An excellent opportunity to listen about this extraordinary work, which we have also covered in our “Voices” interviews:

Suggested reading

  • The 2018 edition of The State of the World’s Forests (FAO) examines the inter-linkages between forests and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report uses scientific sources and case studies to show the social, economic and environmental impact of forests and trees across the SDGs.