Trees vital in reducing vulnerability to climate change

Natural forests and trees on agricultural land will be important in ensuring food security and mitigating climate change, says Dr Rodel Lasco, Philippine Programme Coordinator with the World Agroforestry Centre.

In delivering an address at an ASEAN seminar discussing issues relating to forests and forest products, Lasco outlined how the Asian Development Bank estimates that Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam could suffer 50 per cent decline in rice yields by 2100 without adaptation.

About one sixth of the global population is currently food secure, says Lasco in an article in the Brunei Times, and climate change is expected to make the problem worse. Climate change will cause lower and more variable agricultural yields and cause uncertainty in water supplies, making rice production vulnerable.

Forests and agroforestry can provide a direct source of food (such as fruits, edible leaves and nuts) and cash income for more than a billion of the world's poorest people. Forest landscapes also “play an important role in ensuring we get enough water, and again that has an impact on food security," said Lasco.

Proper management and sustainable use of natural resources is required so that both ecosystems and people can adapt to climate change. Ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) involves local- and landscape-scale strategies to manage ecosystems such as forests in a way that reduces vulnerability to climate change.

Read the full story: Forests can help mitigate climate change, ensure food security

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