Forest and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future

1 August, 2015

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Forest and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future

1 Aug,2015WoF and Dept of Env Affairs

Forests and trees play vital roles in human well-being and national economies and in the provision of essential environmental services such as clean air and fresh water. But policymakers, the wider community and even foresters have not always fully acknowledged these roles.

Today, the forestry profession must embrace the full range of forest products and environmental services and the rights and views of all forest stakeholders. It must also keep society informed of the roles of forests in the well-being of people and the environment.

Forestry, therefore, can no longer operate in isolation. It is an integral part of communities and landscapes and a vital component of sustainable development at all levels. It is also a key contributor to job creation and food security programmes.

The XIV World Forestry Congress 2015 will provide a unique platform for bringing forestry into the mainstream. It will emphasize peoplecentred forestry, socio economic issues, and the role of forests, trees and forestry in national economic development. It will address key environmental issues such as climate change, water and sustainable woodfuel supply – the latter being particularly crucial in Africa. It will also explore new governance structures that promote sustainable forest management.

The theme of the XIV World Forestry Congress is Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future.

Importance of Integrated Fire Management practices

The role of fire in the world’s vegetation is ambivalent. In some ecosystems natural fires are essential to maintain ecosystem dynamics, biodiversity and productivity.

Fire is also an important and widely used tool to meet land management goals. However, every year, wildfires destroy millions of hectares of forest woodlands and other vegetation, causing the loss of many human and animal lives and an immense economic damage, both in terms of resources destroyed and the costs of suppression.

Most fires are caused by people. The list of human-induced causes include land clearing and other agricultural activities and maintenance of grasslands for livestock management. It was concluded that the main contributing elements of these wildfires are drought, fire meteorology, accumulation of fuel and homogenous or fire prone landscapes, which are often caused by lack of appropriate land management.

Preventive landscape management is therefore needed and should include policy, cultural, technical, social, financial, organizational, and economical and market aspects. There is evidence from some regions that the trend is towards more fires affecting a larger area and burning with greater severity, while the risk of fire may be increasing under the climate change in association with land-use changes and institutional constraints on sustainable forest and fire management.

The recent huge forest fires in Canada and the United States is a case in point on the vastness of these fires. Our Working on Fire crews used their sound integrated fire management principles in terms of fire suppression and team coordination to work successfully on the fires in the Alberta Province of Canada.

Working on Fire has a long history of implementing a range of unique fire and land management products and services to fit specific needs within the landowner community in Africa and abroad.

During the 2014 Winter Fire Season South Africa experienced its worst fire season in 7 years and more than a million hectares of veld, forest and agricultural land were destroyed. If it wasn’t for the sterling work of the fire fighters in Working on Fire this damage could have been much worse.

At the World Forestry Congress in Durban Working on Fire will be presenting a full presentation on how our unique Integrated Fire Management practices can be used extensively to put in place sound land management policies and procedures.

Working on Fire to be part of opening ceremony

The XIV World Forestry Congress (WFC) is being held at the Durban International Convention Centre from the 7 to 11 September 2015 with the theme “Forest and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future”.

The official opening ceremony of the WFC will be on the 7 September and our fire fighters will put on a drill and march display. Working on Fire in partnership with Kishugu will also be hosting a World Café Discussion at the WFC in Venue 4C (ICC) on the 8 September 2015 from 10H30 – 12H30. This discussion will be largely based on how we can successfully apply Integrated Fire Management principles in continuing to ensure the sustainability of forests.

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