In the third of our six part podcast series on biodiversity, we focus on the problem of deforestation and how it’s impacting biodiversity loss. Nick Spencer from Gordian Advice, a responsible investment advisory boutique, hosts this episode and is joined by a number of forestry experts.
Together, they take a look at how this problem is manifesting itself in the Indonesian rainforest and the Brazilian Amazon, as well as focussing on some positives, including some early promising developments in forest management and the growth of community forest in Africa.
Nick notes that a growing awareness of the problem will be part of the solution, along with “learning how to make environmental regulation stick and continuing to encourage stakeholders to play their part. Dialogue and local community-led engagement is all part of it.”
One of Nick’s guests, Pek Shibao, is from the climate change group at CDC, which is the UK government's development finance institution. He notes that while everybody knows that deforestation is a huge issue for climate change, most people don't recognise that forests also have a critical role in preserving all sorts of natural processes and biodiversity directly.
According to Pek, “the fall of rain and other weather processes keep water in the soil, especially in many of the natural environments in Indonesia, which are not just tropical rainforests, but peat forests, which play a very important role in regulating moisture. And of course, they are also home to an incredible array of biodiversity, including many charismatic and unfortunately endangered animals”.
Another of Nick’s guests is Ana Yang – Executive Director, Sustainability Accelerator at Chatham House. She has seen first-hand the tension between conservation and development in the Brazilian Amazon forest. “This interaction between economic and social development and conservation and the fact that we know that if you put in infrastructure, a road in the middle of a forest, you're going to have deforestation impact. But at the same time, that's what's going to get that community access to school and hospitals.”
But there is reason for hope. The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope against one of the biggest challenges of our time. Launched in 2007 by the African Union, this is a game changing African-led initiative aiming to restore Africa's degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives in one of the world's poorest regions.