Lend your voice to the forest!

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At WRM we have been opposed to FAO’s definition of forests for many years. We believe that it actually serves as an indirect cause of deforestation. According to FAO, a forest is merely “land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ” (*), which means that industrial monoculture tree plantations fall under this definition. As a result, industrial tree plantations “disguised” as forests continue to spread throughout the world, often replacing real forests.

In this International Year of Forests we have decided to challenge FAO’s definition of forests, which has serious consequences for the world’s forests because it is used as a reference by many international organizations. We are working on developing different tools that can be used to raise awareness of this issue, and are trying to make their development as participatory as possible.

To begin with, we would like the short video we posted on our website earlier this year (http://www.wrm.org.uy/forests.html) to be available in many different languages and in many different places on the internet. If you have a website, a blog, a Facebook account, or any other means of showing this video to more people, then please share it, distribute it, use it any way you can!

And here’s another way to participate: if you speak another language (other than English or Spanish), we invite you to translate the video’s short script (transcribed below) and send us your translations. As soon as we receive a translation, we will create a new version of the video in that language and post it on our website.

This is the text to be translated:

This is a polar bear, but this is not the North Pole
This is water and fish, but this is not an ocean
This is a lot of trees, but this is not a forest
Can you imagine replacing the North Pole with this,
and replacing the oceans with this?

FAO’s definition of “forests” allows forests to be replaced with this.
Tree plantations are not forests
Let’s define the forest by its true meaning
Tell the world what forests mean for you

Please send your translations, or any other ideas or suggestions you have for this campaign, to forest@wrm.org.uy

(*) FAO, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010