On the International Day of Forests, 21 March 2017, Siemenpuu Foundation and around 200 other civil society organizations around the world called on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO to revise its forest definition, which has been in use since 1948.
The FAO definition considers forests to be basically just a group of trees of a minimum height and canopy percentage, while ignoring other fundamental aspects of forests, including their many other life-forms and forest-dependent human communities. Equally, it ignores the vital contribution of forests to natural processes that provide soil, water and oxygen.
The current definition has benefited the tree plantation industry. FAO has also itself actively promoted forestry based solely on economic benefits of plantations. Industrial tree plantations have been the direct cause of many negative impacts on local communities and their forests; which have been well-documented.
The CSO call was a continuation for a petition given to FAO during the 2015 World Forestry Congress in Durban (South Africa), that had been signed by over 100,000 individuals and groups from around the world.
Read the CSOs open letter to FAO at World Rainforest Movement's website.
Read more about forests and their meanings from Siemenpuu's webpage.