Agroforestry for Carbon and Ecosystem Management - Chapter 29: Policy regarding sustainable forest management and resources

Elsevier, Agroforestry for Carbon and Ecosystem Management, 2024, Pages 403-417
Chichinye A., Mlambo D., Sebata A., Mabidi A.

The past 3decades have witnessed 420 million ha reduction of forest area globally, largely due to the failure of environmental and conservation policies to halt deforestation. The highest losses are experienced in the tropical domain, particularly in Africa and South America where 90% of deforestation is caused by agricultural expansion. Many tropical countries have inconsistent policies and weak forest governance, critical underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation (D&FD). As the global forest area continues to decrease, sustainable forest management (SFM) is considered the most cost-effective strategy for addressing the problem of forest loss. One promising pathway to reduce D&FD is to adopt agroforestry (AF) because it can provide products similar to those sourced from forests notably wood, fodder, and fiber. Agroforestry systems (AFs) have the potential to store up to 15MgCha−1 year−1 in woody biomass and up to 300MgCha−1 in soils, making it a promising natural solution for the climate crisis. The contribution of AF toward achieving the global policy objective of zero deforestation is immersed if countries give it a special place in national and global conservation programs such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Policies that discourage deforestation play a vital role in setting priorities and actions for a sustainable global future. However, their effectiveness hinges on the capacity of national governments to implement measures and upscale activities that halt or reverse the deforestation trend. In this chapter, we synthesize information on the current status of global forest resources and highlight policies that can help nations to progress toward SFM. In conclusion, the world needs to make significant progress toward SFM, which needs to be supported by international donor organizations and national governments for livelihood alternatives to D&FD. Upscaling of implementing forest conservation initiatives and enhancing the capacity of state actors to implement forestry-related policies and legislation.