Acting for intact primary forests

The European Wilderness Society today joined the International Action on Primary Forests (IntAct), which is one of the concrete outcomes of the IUCN conference in Sydney last year.

Our organisation was called to join by the IntAct coordinator, Cyril Kormos, who says that the initiative’s “basic message is that the planet’s remaining primary forests should be maintained free of industrial activity to avoid dangerous climate change and achieve biodiversity conservation objectives – and for all sorts of other reasons, from protection of indigenous cultures and livelihoods to maintaining other critical ecosystem services.”

IntAct is an initiative consisting of member organizations that have signed the IntAct Statement of Principles and share IntAct’s mission. IntAct’s mission is to: Build consensus within the NGO community, international policy fora and the private sector on the need to prioritize the protection of primary forests. IntAct will:

  • Disseminate information and knowledge products to raise awareness of the unique and essential role primary forests play in meeting the objectives of key multilateral agreements including the CBD, UNFCCC and SDGs.
  • Promote evidence-based and scientifically sound policies and market mechanisms that support and help prioritize primary forest stewardship and protection.
  • Advance the full range of conservation-based approaches and protected area types that have a demonstrated capacity to enable primary forest protection and sustainable livelihoods, including: Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas, government protected areas, private protected areas and payments for ecosystem services mechanisms.

Industrial logging of primary forests in developing countries often targets niche luxury markets, or markets for products that could be substituted from plantations, such as decking or plywood. Industrial logging in primary forests is also often heavily subsidized. Plantations should not be established without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities.

The European Wilderness Society will actively promote IntAct in order to develop solutions to meet global wood demand that do not involve resorting to exploiting primary forests. “Researches show that much larger proportion of global timber demand can be met through using existing plantations on previously cleared land or degraded forests with low biodiversity value, or by using alternative fibers, alongside a reduction in wasteful consumption.” says Zoltan Kun, Deputy Chairman of our Society.

“We believe that illegal logging with particular attention to the Carpathians but also beyond threatens the last great forest Wilderness places in Europe. Therefore we are happy to sign the IntAct’s Statement of Principles and also hope that more small, local civil society organisations will join the signatories from Europe.”

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