The world’s forests are an incredibly valuable resource: storing carbon, purifying air and water, ensuring natural biodiversity, and providing a livelihood for millions of people. And a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report confirms this. In its report, BCG estimates the value of forests to be up to $150 trillion. But if we don’t take appropriate action, including watch our global temperature, we could lose 30 percent of that value by 2050, BCG researchers warn.
In order to prevent this, BCG suggests action in these six areas:
- Plant, restore, and manage forests sustainably.
- Boost sustainable and productive agriculture.
- Reduce meat consumption.
- Push for deforestation-free production of palm oil, soy, beef, and timber.
- Increase wood recycling.
- Limit global temperature increase to less than 2°C.
While all actions are vital to forests, the sixth is especially important. If we stay within the 2°C limit that the Paris Agreement laid out, we could potentially save three percent of the forest value. This may seem small, but the value of the 3 percent is around $4.5 trillion.
Forests’ interdependence with climate change — and why global temperature matters
Forests are great at carbon storage, which is one of the reasons why they play such an important role in tackling climate change. And as such, forests’ ability to store carbon account for 65 to 90 percent of their value, according to the report.
Trees play a vital role in controlling our CO2 emissions, and “if we take aggressive action in the six areas and succeed in limiting global temperature increase to less than 2°C, forests can become net absorbers of CO2 after 2045 and capture up to 2 gigatons of CO2 per year,” the report says. For content, “This amount is more than the annual CO2 emissions from Russia today.”
That’s why it’s no surprise that deforestation itself accounts for 10 percent of global emissions — and makes it counterproductive to fight climate change.
All stakeholders can and should contribute to the fight
Climate change will impact people most, but all stakeholders have a role to play in the fight against it. Governments, NGOs, businesses, and others are all vital to preventing forest loss and limiting global temperature.
Here’s how all stakeholders can play a role, according to the study.
- Public sector leaders: They can implement various regulations and policies that support the supply and demand for waste wood. There should be more prerequisites for broad-based wood recycling, the report recommends.
- Government: It should ensure an efficient and effective way to collect classify, separate, prepare, and recycle waste. Further, there should be more incentives for people to recycle wood.
- Companies: They should utilize different resources such as recycled wood, pulp, paper, and fiber in their products. If any products are non-recyclable, companies should confirm any virgin fiber used has transparent and show legal ways that respect principles of environmental and ethical ways of sourcing.
- Active campaigners and NGOs: Published on the internet in which companies are still responsible for clearing forests
- Consumers: Leverage digital and print sources to learn more about which companies contribute to the deforestation process
Jalen Xing is a Writer at theRising and the co-founder of Students For Hospitals. You can pitch him stories at jalen.xing [at] gmail [dot] com.