Lungs of the earth could generate millions of jobs as well as help combat climate change if only 0.034% more of the global GDP is invested in it
Creating millions of jobs, halving deforestation rates by 2030, increasing tree plantation rates by 140% by 2050 and combating climate change would just need an additional investment of US$ 40bn a year in the forestry sector according to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
“The Green Economy initiative has identified forestry as one of the 10 central sectors capable of propelling a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating future if backed by investment and forward-looking policies,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.
And with the right kinds of enabling policies, such an investment – equivalent to about two-thirds more than what is spent on the sector today – could also sequester or remove an extra 28% of carbon from the atmosphere, thus playing a key role in combating climate change.Today, Bhutan has a forest cover of 70.46%, of which 62.43% is broadleaf, 22.69% mixed conifer, 6.77% fir, 3.98% chirpine, 2.96% blue pine and 1.16% broadleaf with conifer.
The agriculture and forest minister, Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho, in his message during the World Environment Day (WED) said the goods and services we derive from forest are essential to support our lives on a daily basis. “We are fortunate that today we have a relatively healthy forest cover and enjoy the economic and ecological benefits from it,” said Lyonpo.
However, with emerging challenges Bhutan needs to do a lot more. Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said the ability to buy more and consume more has not spared our forest resources, as is evident from the shortage of timber in the market.
He said the efforts to boost economic growth through various projects and to bring roads and electricity to rural communities have also taken their toll on the forest. “If we do not check these losses, our ability to honor our constitutional duty to maintain at least 60% of our geographical area under forest cover would be severely compromised,” said Lyonpo.
The UNEP report states that in the intervening period between 2011 and 2050, investment of US$15bn annually of GDP would raise the value added in the forestry industry by more than 20% relative to business as usual.
It also suggests that a transition to a Green Economy could increase forested land -currently close to 4bn hectares – by over 3% in 2020, 8% by 2030 and over 20% by 2050. Also, carefully planned investments would also contribute to increased employment from 25mn today to 30mn by 2050.