Rapid economic development in many countries has led to a dramatic increase in deforestation and forest degradation because of conversion to agricultural and pasturing lands and the exploitation of forests for wood or energy. Etc Terra works to reduce these pressures on forests while safeguarding the economic benefits of the community and other involved stakeholders.
Forest ecosystems provide numerous environmental benefits: soil protection by the tree roots, maintenance and restoration of soil fertility, regulation of water table levels, preservation of water quality, and as an important reservoir for biodiversity. Forest cover also mitigates climate change, provides renewable energy, and absorbs large quantity of CO2. Furthermore, exploitation of forests provides important resources (food, water, wood, fibre), and creates jobs.
- Every year, about 13 millions hectares of primary forest are lost, almost the area of Greece (FAO, 2010);
- Agriculture and Forestry account for about 25% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014);
- Forests supports 50% of the terrestrial biodiversity around the globe (CIFOR, 1999).
Etc Terra's action plan
A combination of actions for sustainable management
Our forestry projects are geared toward sustainable management. They provide an opportunity to both preserve forest ecosystems and contribute to the economic development of developing countries. Etc Terra and its partners operate within the framework of the REDD+ Initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) by, for example:
- settling the slash and burn agriculture that involves land tenure security of the affected land, changing production methods towards environmentally and economically efficient intensive systems and, finally, the development of cash crops for export that could generate significant additional income for households (cashew in Mozambique, vanilla / coffee in Madagascar, etc). On this major issue, Etc Terra regularly relies on the expertise of Agrisud International and Rongead, on both agronomic and commercial aspects;
- creating new protected areas, involving governments and local communities (e.g through management transfers ). Protected areas provide a legal status to target forest areas;
- helping local populations settle through securing land and tenure, and developing their capacity in agriculture.
- developing sustainable management plans through which logging companies can maintain forests while being economically viable.
- encouraging the planting of fuelwood in parallel with the distribution of efficient cooking technologies.
Through its many projects, Etc Terra has developed significant expertise in the quantification of carbon stocks in tropical forests, which is one of the metrics for determining conservation success. This accurate quantification of carbon is a key component to enabling access to carbon finance markets to complement traditional development assistance funds.