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On 11 September, the XIV World Forestry Congress was held in Durban, South Africa. This event represented the largest gathering on forests this decade with 4,000 delegates from 142 countries in attendance. The goal of the Congress was to discuss the role of forests and forestry in achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Congress set a vision for the year 2050 and the participants adopted the Durban Declaration after the event. The Durban Declaration included the following statements about the vision for the future of forestry:
• Forests are more than trees and are fundamental for food security and improved livelihoods. The forests of the future will increase the resilience of communities by providing food, wood energy, shelter, fodder and fiber; generating income and employment to allow communities and societies to prosper; harboring biodiversity; and supporting sustainable agriculture and human wellbeing by stabilizing soils and climate and regulating water flows.
• Integrated approaches to land use provide a way forward for improving policies and practices to: address the drivers of deforestation; address conflicts over land use; capitalize on the full range of economic, social and environmental benefits from integrating forests with agriculture; and maintain multiple forest services in the landscape context.
• Forests are an essential solution to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Sustainably managed forests will increase the resilience of ecosystems and societies and optimize the role of forests and trees in absorbing and storing carbon while also providing other environmental services
Forests and forestry will play a valuable role in the upcoming environmental events. The World Forestry Congress was successful in generating enthusiasm and the cooperative spirit necessary for such participation.