Save biodiversity – the key to resilient forests

Save biodiversity – the key to resilient forests

Biodiversity decline is causing a loss of 55 billion dollars a year,” said Mr. Mastrojeni while addressing the attendees of the “Biodiversity for resilience in the restoration of Mediterranean forests” parallel session at the VI Mediterranean Forest Week. The session discussed the shifting from the monospecific afforestation to a holistic approach with multiple objectives combining several socioeconomic and environmental benefits.

The session discussed shifting from monospecific approaches to re-forestation, and rather adopt a holistic approach, with multiple objectives combining to result in socioeconomic and environmental benefits, for the region as a whole.

Mr. Grammenos Mastrojeni, Coordinator for the Environment and Head of Science-Policy Interface with Italian Development Cooperation, presented a new perspective towards combating climate change. Mastrojeni talked about the history and vitality of society in the Mediterranean region, which had for years depended on a predictable and stable climate.

Shedding light on the need to preserve biodiversity and the environment, Mr. Mastrojeni explained the importance of maintaining local climate regulation services – as well as empowerment and cultural identity services – across the Mediterranean.

Mastrojeni highlighted the importance of the cooperation in the Mediterranean region to mitigate climate change effects in regions where unpredictable changes to climate are making it difficult to organise society in terms of resources and subsistence.

The arrival of unpredictable climate regimes is having a devastating effect on society in certain regions. Cooperation is needed because the impact of unpredictable climate changes is effectively randomizing ecosystem services. The result is that society in affected areas is unable to adapt to sustain the livelihoods of people. Social cohesion is disintegrating in these regions and impacting the Mediterranean as a whole.

The entire region must cooperate to face the environmental challenges by focusing on replacing fossil fuels – which are an essential line of intervention both in rich and poorer areas.

Finally Mr. Mastrojeni asked: “When will we intervene to interrupt this cycle? What instruments do we have to do so?” The aim, going forward should be to focus our projects in regions where climate change is breaking down the fabric of society among the poorest of the poor, he explained.

This presentation triggered a question in all the attendees from around the Mediterranean. Now is the time to re-evaluate the aims and targets – as well as the location, capacity, and requirements – of every project in the forest sector.

Blogpost by Rayan Abdelwahed