News  |  13.09.2019

Forests and men, an absolute urgency

While we constantly hear there is only one planet to share

While climate change is at the heart of all geopolitical issues

While we fear for the loss of biodiversity

While migration crisis threatens our democracies

While forests everywhere are burning

What exactly are we doing about it?

From COP Summit to COP Biodiversity summit, we meet, we sit and talk, we take offense then create councils and commissions. In this alarming situation international agencies and donors fund numerous experts who produce numerous reports and research papers.

What is happening in the real world, on the ground?

Not much, very little to say the least. Operational costs consume ideas, resources, and energy. Technostructure crushes and blocks initiative: box ticking replaces goal achieving. Losing so much in the process… like using high voltage to light a simple bulb. Meanwhile governments seem to hesitate between a form of laissez faire and national identity withdrawal.

What else could be done?

Mary Parker Follett in the 19th century and Barack Obama more recently spoke of “doers”- those who do, are not afraid and inspire good will in their wake.

Powerful people can directly help other entrepreneurs, and who can better understand entrepreneurs than other entrepreneurs who share the same values. The means are available, but they need to directly fund the right people.

Who should we support?

The companies of doers are well known. In the Congo Basin of Central Africa, for example, they defend on a daily basis these irreplaceable treasures that are great apes and forest elephants. They also create many jobs at the local level.

Among these, first and foremost we should support forest companies certified by the international label FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

Most of what they do in terms of social management (schools, hospitals, training, providing access to drinking water and electricity) and environmental management (fighting illegal poaching in partnership with NGOs such as WWF to host scientists and researchers, supporting the National Parks, preserving large areas and intact forest landscapes) remain largely underfunded.

FSC certified forest concessions pay all applicable taxes and through public private partnership contribute to the building of infrastructure and to the economic growth of the Central African countries. Unfortunately, the benefits of these efforts are still largely underestimated.

Sadly, this virtuous and ethical model of forestry is in danger. Not sufficiently recognized by certain NGOS and institutions and also deemed insufficiently profitable some of these companies have given up, more to follow.

This situation is dramatic. These forest managers are « doers ». They know their land, they work hard on the ground away from conference rooms and trade shows, they put their heart and their conviction with relentless perseverance as if on a mission.

How much money is needed?

Only tens or a few hundreds of million would be enough; the price of a large luxury yacht would be sufficient.  It is a modest investment for a lasting impact on our planet.

These potential donors and these institutions exist.

Nature needs them…

There is no more time to waste…

We must share our sense of urgency…

We must share our anger in the face of this ongoing waste…

There are forests and men in dire straits…

Author: Dr .Emmanuel GROUTEL


Laboratory : NIMEC (UPRES-EA 969) IAE de CAEN