Working for the Common Good: Integrated Forest Management

May 18, 2017

Certain works for development touch more areas than intended or anticipated. Integrated forest management is one such example. This approach holds a particular standing among development areas in that it reminds us how important forests are. Forest management is perhaps the area where common good is highest.

 

Why forest management is important

Forest lands are beneficial to the environment, economy and society all at the same time and should be considered a treasure for both the country and the world. They benefit multiple places concurrently, and that is the common good that must be born in mind when it comes to forest management.

Therefore, the biodiversity and climate response are integratively addressed in the Mediterranean region. Forest are important ecosystems that enable such integrated management. In order to manage forest ecosystems integratively, we need to be aware of their capacity to retain carbon, biodiversity in the region, and multiple benefits derived from forests.

The basic purpose of the project by UNDP and OGM in partnership is to contribute to Turkey’s climate response by enhancing forest management. However, forest means more than that. The work under the integrated forest management directly affects numerous areas: climate response, direct contribution to regional economy, employment, tourism opportunities, increased water quality, biodiversity and pest control to name a few. Shortly, forest means everything. Works preserving forest and developing forestry directly affect many things ranging from economy to biodiversity.

 

What UNDP and OGM do on the issue

The first question we must ask ourselves is how we should manage forests so that they retain more carbon. A number of plans are in the making to increase the capacity to retain carbon. Focusing on current carbon-oriented efforts, methods are developed to increase such capacity. Forests serve not only climate response, but also offer multiple benefits.

Forest lands are the ecosystems with most significant carbon retention capacity for Turkey’s climate response. The “Integrated Forest Management Project” supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented jointly by the General Directorate of Forestry and UNDP engages in activities to strengthen Turkey’s forests for climate response. A Monitoring, Reporting, Verification (MRV) system has been developed to measure, monitor, report and verify the quantity of carbon retained by the forest ecosystem. Due to its multiple benefits as mentioned above, the MRV system developed nationally has been developed considering not only climate response, but also the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Why Mediterranean forests

The Mediterranean region is most vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change in Turkey. The forests in the region hold also significant potential to reverse such adverse effects. Therefore, the newly tried systems are first implemented in this area.

 

New approach, new method

OGM and UNDP met at Köyceğiz to try a new system, not ever used before, to more comprehensively make carbon measurements. OGM’s forestry engineers, who received training of trainers on this new, comprehensive method of carbon measurement, had an opportunity to field test their newly acquired skills. The updated measurement systems will enable OGM to make more integrated plans of forest management. Following the training and field trials, it was decided to pilot this new method at Alara Forest Administration Section of Antalya. Should the new measurement techniques prove feasible, the intention is to roll them out all over Turkey. OGM will have more detailed and better standardized data on the quantity of carbon retained by forests in Turkey. It will also employ such information to address the question of how we better manage forests for the common good.