Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2011: International Year of Forests

Highlighted by Floor Covering Weekly:

The United Nations General Assembly has named 2011 the International Year of Forests in order to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. To gain support for the movement, the U.N. requested that private sector, governments and non-government organizations attempt to raise public awareness of progressive forest management as a key element in building a sustainable global society.

“The Lacey Act Amendments in the U.S., FLEGT in the EU and other legislation around the world are focused on legal harvesting of trees, but a serious issue of total forest destruction through mismanagement of forests remains a growing threat to the planet and the lives and livelihood of many hundreds of millions of people,” said Jim Gould, president of the Floor Covering Institute (FCI). “Each year millions of acres of forests are lost to deforestation. Thus, the International Year of Forests is designed to raise awareness and promote global action to sustainably manage, conserve and develop all types of forests.”

Gould told FCW that the U.N. chose 2011 to focus on the forest because all of the attention given to sustainability and the environment would not be complete without an emphasis on how important the forest is for protecting and providing resources. “The U.N. feels a sense of urgency to bring attention to the important role that forests play in our lives — the multitude of products and sources of income derived from them as we well know in the flooring industry, but also they are the home to 90 percent of the world’s life forms, they protect watersheds and of course they play a huge role in carbon sequestration. Sustainable forestry practices must be employed so that we continue to receive these benefits,” he said.

Gould and FCI are behind the promotion and will act as an ambassador to the U.N. in delivering the message to the flooring industry. “The U.N. has approved FCI to bring attention to the International Year of the Forests and we will bring the message to our industry. We are building an educational program at the International Wood Flooring Forum in Shanghai and will promote the International Year of Forests at Domotex Asia/ChinaFloor in Shanghai,” he said.