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NEWS RELEASE No: 1338722 MARCH 2010

Commonwealth Forestry Conference occurring ‘at crucial time for world’s forests’

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Path through bluebell woodland

The Commonwealth Forestry Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in June will occur at a crucial time for the world’s forests and their role in combating dangerous climate change.

Tim Rollinson, Director-General of the British Forestry Commission, which will host the conference, said this as the organisers announced a prestigious line-up of speakers from across the world.

Mr Rollinson, who as Chair of the Standing Committee on Commonwealth Forestry will chair the conference, added,

“It will be just seven months after the Copenhagen climate change conference put efforts to halt deforestation high on the list of priority actions needed if we are to limit the increase in global average temperatures to less than 2o centigrade. 

“We must act urgently to protect the forests we’ve got left and restore what we’ve lost. The conference is therefore a timely opportunity to explore ways in which we in the Commonwealth - and any other countries that wish to take part - can do to take this vital work forward.”

The speaker line-up includes:

  • Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General;
  • Justin Mundy, Director of the Prince’s Rainforest Project;
  • Dr Isabella Bovolo and Dr Elizabeth Losos of the ground-breaking Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation;
  • Adam Whitmore, head of climate change projects for mining giant Rio Tinto plc;
  • Pavan Sukhdev, Head of the Green Economy Initiative at the UN Environment Programme;
  • Dr Bill Jackson, Deputy Director-General of International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and
  • Hosny El Lakany, Chair of the International Partnership for Forestry Education.

It also includes the Minister of Forests in the Scottish Government and the heads of the Canadian, Indian, Tanzanian, Jamaican and British national forest services. More high-profile speakers have been invited.

The conference will be held from Monday 28 June to Friday 2 July. Delegates will focus on restoring the world’s lost forests and how forests can help to resolve some of the world’s most pressing problems, especially climate change.

It will present case studies of successful forest restoration and conservation projects from several countries, and give participants an opportunity to learn from and interact with experts. Among the topics that will be addressed are:

  • actions that can be taken now for forests to achieve climate change objectives;
  • the role of education and professionalism;
  • next steps and strategies for delivering REDD+;
  • the importance of communities in delivering forestry objectives; 
    the role of the private sector in finance and restoration;
  • the economics of restoration and sustainable development; and
  • the important role of forests in helping to reverse the global loss of biodiversity.

There will also be a range of field trip options, including a visit to the site of a native forest restoration project in Scotland’s spectacular Trossachs region.

Although Commonwealth Forestry Conferences are held in and organised by member countries of the Commonwealth, delegates, speakers and participants from any country are very welcome.

A discount for early registration is available to delegates who register before 12 April, and there are opportunities to take part as an exhibitor. Full details, include a provisional conference programme, are available on the conference website,

Further information is also available from the conference enquiry service,


  1. The Commonwealth is an association of 54 independent states around the world, most of which are former British colonies, dependencies and other territories. It has a combined total population of 1.8 billion people – 30 per cent of the world’s population. Member nations work together to improve the lives of their citizens in an atmosphere of shared co-operation and understanding. Forestry plays a fundamental part in the lives and economies of the Commonwealth’s citizens and countries, and there are significant forest resources and forestry expertise throughout the Commonwealth.
  2. The Commonwealth Forestry Conferences are held approximately every four years. They bring together and share the knowledge and experience of foresters from Commonwealth and other state forest services, industry, research bodies and non-government organisations (NGOs) as well as experts from other disciplines that impinge on forestry and on which forestry impinges, such as economists, social scientists and environmental scientists. The conferences are highly regarded by forest services, which recognise them as a valuable forum for maintaining contact and exchanging knowledge and broadening experience. Conference discussions can make a real contribution to the sustainable management, conservation and development of the world’s forests.
  3. The Forestry Commission is the UK’s government department for forestry in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales - Northern Ireland is served by the separate Forest Service of Northern Ireland). The Commission manages one million hectares of public forest land for multiple purposes, supports other woodland owners with grants, felling licences, regulation and advice, and advises Ministers in the UK, Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments on forestry policy. Through its Forest Research arm, it conducts scientific research and technical development relevant to forestry for internal and external clients. For further information visit and

MEDIA CONTACT: Charlton Clark, +44 131 314 6500;