“Forests are essential to our future”
This is the first sentence of the UN Declaration on Forests made in New York in 2014. The years that have followed this Declaration and the current Climate Emergency are highlighting just how significant the role of forests should be. Forests remain the largest terrestrial store of carbon on the planet and are of considerable importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) notably SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
Tropical forests, in particular, are a very complex eco-system, harbouring an enormous diversity of life and storing large amounts of carbon in their biomass.
Yet, around the Earth, tropical forests are disappearing and are subject to ongoing degradation, and this is predominantly caused by humans. Today most tropical forests are either degraded or are secondary, meaning that they are once again growing on land which has previously been deforested.
As a Fund, we have spent a long time understanding why this degradation occurs. To halt degradation and allow forests to recover, forests need to generate more economic value for the people living in and around forests This is possible if forests are a sustainable source of income and employment.
Nature is highly resilient – a patch of fallow land will soon be home to new trees. It will harbour new life and species will slowly begin to return. Our approach is based on this natural regeneration, allowing nature to do its work, while ensuring sufficient management of forests to support livelihoods through the commercialisation of wood species.
This vision of forest restoration is only possible through partnerships with local people and finding entrepreneurs and forest owners who share our vision is key to our work. We then provide the financial and technical conditions to support projects with scaling and development. Our priority is to ensure that financing is directed towards projects which catalyse a change in the perception of the value which lies in forests and how it is distributed.