Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday said smart forest management is key to fighting climate change and to help farming, weeks before he leads a major UN climate summit.
Duda in December will host the COP24 UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where world leaders will be under pressure to ramp up national carbon-cutting pledges.
“Forests have a significant and positive impact on drought-prevention and soil degradation, at the same time, improving and, in many cases, creating favourable conditions for cultivation,” Duda said.
Speaking at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Duda said: “To achieve climate neutrality we have to increase the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to absorb CO2 and decrease the level of greenhouse gases.”
Forests are known for their role in carbon capture and storage, Duda said, but also in regulating water and soil conditions, reducing wind erosion, limiting the flow of fertile soil to the seas and diminishing the effects of natural disasters.
“Reasonable forest management allows us to counter the negative effects of climate change, including drought and soil degradation,” he said.
More than two decades of UN-led efforts to curb deforestation have largely failed, with the planet still losing a wooded area the size of Greece every year.
Deforestation—responsible for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions—intensifies global warming in several ways, including by reducing Earth’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and releasing huge amounts of the planet-warming gas into the air.