After Agriculture Day, comes Forest Day for about 1,200 scientists, donors, NGOs, policymakers, journalists and climate negotiators gathered in Durban, with its own well-oiled choreography of plenary sessions and discussion forums.
My assigned role during these two days is to act as a go-between and help break down the silo mentality that can affect expert communities working on narrow themes. Many people already seem to be reading from the same music sheet –there is growing recognition that the fate of forests and agriculture are intricately linked.
Agriculture (large and small) is one of the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in many parts of the world. And growing needs for food, energy and income will continue to exert tremendous pressure on the forest “frontier” in the future.
Forestry and agriculture experts concerned by climate change seem to be reaching for broadly symbiotic solutions at the landscape level – climate-smart programs based on a more complete understanding of the carbon and water cycles that sustain both agriculture and forests.
Forest Day, now in its fifth year, always timed to coincide with UNFCCC talks, can take great credit for publicizing carbon emission research and putting forests on the map of climate change negotiations.