Sustainable forestry – helping climate change mitigation and poverty reduction

Foresters on a training course in Kyrgyzstan
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and help to counter global warming. Protecting them is therefore critical. © SDC

Forests and trees cover around one-third of the earth's surface today, but are receding in many places. Both are needed to counter global warming as they absorb carbon dioxide from the air. The SDC has several forest protection projects which help to reduce climate risks.

The SDC's focus

A quarter of the world's rural poor depend directly or indirectly on forests. Around 70 million people, including indigenous communities in particular, depend exclusively on forest resources for their livelihoods. At the same time, forests play an important role in mitigating climate change as they absorb carbon dioxide from the air. This makes forests an indispensable part of any approach to the global issues of climate change and poverty. The SDC's forest projects thus have a two-fold advantage: they contribute to reducing both poverty and climate risks.

The Global Programme Climate Change's activities in this area are guided by three priorities:

  1. Global forest policy and its integration in Swiss forest policy Supporting global thematic forest partnerships; having a proactive influence on the development of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and related global processes in this field; coordinating with other Swiss federal offices 
  2. Operational forest programme with three regional initiatives on the role of forests and rural areas for climate change mitigation and adaptation Namely the Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change in Asia, African Forests, People and Climate Change in Africa, and the initiative on Andean forests and their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Andes
  3. Focal point for forest issues: supporting bilateral forest programmes and providing consulting services on the topic

Background

25% of the earth's surface, approximately 33 million km2, is covered in forest. In the last 20 years, an average of 130,000 km2 of the world's forests has been lost every year - roughly three times the size of Switzerland. A further 10 million km2 of forests is degraded because of unsustainable exploitation or agricultural expansion. The destruction of forests has a direct impact on the local and global climate as well as on biodiversity, the availability of water and soil fertility.

Fostering change in thinking and behaviour

Many countries have unsustainable land-use practices. Measures are needed to foster techniques that are diversified and adapted to the local context. One such possibility is to grant incentives for smallholder farms to adapt to agroforestry or to reforest small plots of their land. The SDC's goal is to maintain the long-term potential of agriculture and forestry.

Adapting land-use planning and regulations

If land is collectively owned, new land-use regulations to regenerate natural forest vegetation and bushland are needed. These rules should include all social strata in the rural communities. Earning income from adapting to forest management and receiving compensation for providing environmental services are important practical incentives to sustainably manage collective resources. That is why the SDC promotes a holistic understanding of sustainable forest and land use among all  stakeholders.

Current projects

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Exchanging knowledge and experience to protect Andean forest ecosystems

Part of the Andean forest covered in mist.

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019

The forests of the Andes are valuable in a variety of ways: they store and purify water, provide protection against natural hazards, and absorb environmentally harmful greenhouse gases. With the ANFOR project, the SDC is contributing to the long-term protection of Andean forests.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Andean Region
Environment
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
Forestry
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
Biodiversity
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
FORESTRY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Forestry development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Environmental policy and administrative management
Biosphere protection
Biosphere protection
Bio-diversity

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'072'000



Programme d’appui à la valorisation des produits forestiers non ligneux, phase 2 (PFNL2)

15.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

Au Burkina Faso, les produits forestiers non ligneux[1] (PFNL) constituent une importante source alimentaire pour les populations des zones affectées par les chocs climatiques et déficitaires sur le plan alimentaire. Les PFNL font partie de l’alimentation de plus de 43,4% des ménages ruraux et procurent de l’emploi et des revenus. Le programme  contribue à l’accroissement de la sécurité alimentaire, nutritionnelle et des revenus des ménages ruraux et périurbains[2] par la valorisation et la gestion durable des PFNL.



[1] Les PFNL s’entendent par « tout bien d’origine biologique autre que le bois et la faune à l’exception des insectes, dérivé des forêts et des arbres hors forêts, constitués de végétaux spontanés, domestiqués, et ceux destinés au reboisement ». (Source FAO)

[2] Le périurbain est un espace rural au sens où l’essentiel des sols est attribué à des activités agricoles; mais c’est aussi un espace urbain au sens où la majorité de la population active qui y habite travaille dans une ville, en effectuant des migrations alternantes. Le milieu périurbain connait une très forte compétition entre usage agricole et non agricole des ressources: terres, main-d'œuvre, etc. La production agricole est orientée principalement pour le marché du centre urbain.

 


Gestion intégrée des bassins versants au Moyen Atlas

20.11.2015 - 31.12.2018

L’érosion des sols au Maroc, sévère dans les montagnes de l’Atlas, est à la fois cause et indicateur des défis auxquels font face les populations vulnérables de la région: désastres naturels et précarité. L’intervention propose une approche innovante de gestion intégrée des bassins versants qui augmentera durablement la résilience des populations locales, tout en améliorant leurs conditions de vie. L’engagement fort du Maroc pour sa réplication future à l’échelle nationale permet un effet multiplicateur considérable.


Soutien au développement des filières arachide et karité au Tchad

01.06.2014 - 30.06.2019

L’arachide et le karité présentent des potentiels de diversification de la production agricole et d’accroissement des revenus des exploitations familiales (EF) encore largement inexploités dans les régions du sud du Tchad. En soutenant le développement de ces deux filières, la DDC contribuera à la création de richesses en milieu rural, à la réduction de la vulnérabilité des ménages et des inégalités (en particulier entre hommes et femmes) dans une logique de développement durable.

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