NEWS RELEASE No: 568412 MARCH 2003


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THE LEWIS BURN Lessons learned in restoring Britain's forests over the past 80 years are to be put to use at an international level to help turn the tide on global deforestation.

The Forestry Commission, working in partnership with WWF - the conservation organisation, and IUCN - the World Conservation Union, is to lead a global initiative to prevent deforestation and replace forests which have been lost or degraded. One of the UK's objectives for the World Summit on Sustainable Development was to make a move from rhetoric to action. Reflecting this, the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration will act as a catalyst to encourage countries to share information and examples of best practice, and carry out practical research, leading to forests being restored in new areas.

An initial meeting involving 30 representatives from governments, NGOs and international organisations was held in Edinburgh last year. Further workshops are planned around the world over the next few years, culminating in a global event in 2005. The partners hope that by then the initiative will have raised the profile of forest restoration and started to turn the tide on global deforestation.

Announcing the launch of the initiative Forestry Minister, Elliot Morley said:

    " Around ten per cent of the world's forests are protected, and the area of commercially exploited forest that is being managed sustainably is steadily increasing. Protection and good management of the world's forests are both crucial but on their own they are not enough - the world is still losing forests at an alarming rate.

    "Supporting this initiative will help us implement our international commitments on forests and sustainable development and use the extensive knowledge gained in doubling our own forest area in the past 80 years to help others.

    "Forest landscape restoration is a collaborative venture. If it is to succeed, it must involve everyone with a stake in the forest, from local farmers to charcoal makers, from game hunters to logging companies."
The initiative will shift the emphasis away from simply establishing tree cover to optimising the supply of benefits from the forest, such as clean water, timber production and nature conservation. The partnership has put forward restoration projects in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania, the Kinabatangan river area of Borneo and the UK's Kielder Forest as examples of what can be achieved with the right approach.

Note to Editors
The IUCN announcement can be found at

Colin Morton: 0131 314 6249