ReGreening Earth – How to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss with ecosystem-based forestry
For millions of years, nature has evolved into one of the most complex and beautiful systems imaginable. Seventeen thousand species of butterflies, ten thousand species of birds, seventy thousand species of trees, six million species of known fungi, and one hundred million different species of microorganisms. In rich forest soil, there are more microbes in one cubic inch of soil than visible stars in the universe.
Six thousand years ago, over half of all habitable land on earth was covered with old-growth forests. As much as eighty percent of all land-based biodiversity had its home in the forest. However, due to expanding agriculture and extensive forestry, most of the old-growth forests are today shattered, ruined, or gone – only ten percent of all habitable land on earth is today covered with old-growth natural forests, rich in diversity. This massive loss of forests is one of the main reasons for the vast biodiversity loss on land we are facing today.
Up until today, we humans have to a large extent, fulfilled our needs by turning nature into production units. Forests have been turned into tree plantations or fields for agriculture and grazing.
The fundamental reason for many of the problems we face today can be summarised in one sentence: We have changed too much over too large an area. What once was a seemingly vast and never-ending forest is today production units with little to no room for nature.
Ecosystem-based forestry is a natural part of the solution.
Since we know the problem – too much change – we also see the key to the answer: new methods for forestry, agriculture, fishing, and hunting – methods that protect wildlife, plants, and insects – the mycorrhiza and the microorganisms as well as the soil, water, and air. New and novel management methods protect nature itself.
What we would like to do
To bring knowledge and understanding through a network of Knowledge hubs. A Knowledge Hub is a physical forest where the ReGreening process has been initiated, scientific data collected, and relevant research made accessible.
It is a forest incubator where forest owners, entrepreneurs, politicians, and decision-makers can visit and get information and real-life examples of Ecosystem-based Forestry (EBF), how it works, how to start in their own forest, and what the benefits are.
To turn know-how into do-how
The principles for EBF are universal, but translating knowledge to practice depends on a wide range of variables. Where is the forest located? What’s the ecological status of today? How are natural forests composed in this region?
A Knowledge Hub is a forest where you show the local answers to universal principles of Ecosystem-based forestry in real life. What to aim for, how to do, and what to aspect. Simply, how to go about getting started.
Today the world is full of knowledge and grand visions: Global sustainability goal fifteen, Life on Land, “Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.” – now, we need action.
From know-how to do how
With a network of Knowledge Hubs, the fulfillment of Global Sustainability Goals will get a significant boost, and local ecosystems will recover.
One particularly important aspect is that ecosystem-based forestry represents a whole new different kind of protection – protection through minimum interference. And last but not least – the humble point of view that we do not understand everything.
Since we don’t know everything, we must conduct our actions with careful consideration for the ecosystem – of nature itself. In that way, we will not only protect what we know or think are important – but also all the things we still haven’t understood the value of – or even yet discovered.
If we act now, our grandchildren one day will have the opportunity to walk through vast, rich, and vibrant forests full of wildlife and timber – resulting from widespread and carefully conducted ecosystem-based forestry. With a deep understanding, life as we know it rests on a foundation of a healthy ecosystem.
Mikael Karlsson, Ecoforetry Foundation, and associates.
Hölö, Sweden 2023