Dehradun: Managing Himalayan forest ecosystems on a trans-boundary scale is a must to reduce the effects of climate change, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said here.
In a video message from New Delhi to mark the beginning of a five-day event here last evening, Javadekar said, "Managing Himalayan forest ecosystems on a trans-boundary scale is critical for mitigating the impact of climate change and for sustaining ecosystem services for the welfare of mountain communities and downstream people."
The union minister viewed the symposium titled "Transforming Mountain Forestry in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region", as first-of-its kind on a subject of vital interest in the region and looked forward to the outcome and recommendations of the deliberations.
Dr David Molden, Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) laid emphasis on the need for a paradigm shift in managing forests.
"A third generation of forest management is imperative given the changing nature of both the mountain societies and ecosystems," he said.
Calling upon ICIMOD member countries in the region to come together to create an interactive knowledge platform as a regional forestry community, he stressed the need for trans-boundary cooperation to raise their voice about forest issues.
Director, Forest Research Institute, Dr P P Bhojvaid said that the Himalayas is an "institution" with which we need to reinvent our relationship for our own survival.
Dr Rajan Kotru, Regional Programme Manager, Transboundary Landscapes at ICIMOD elaborated on the focus and design of the symposium that aims to discuss emerging challenges in mountain forestry in light of the emerging threats of climate change to suggest possible management options, applied science focus and policies in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region.
In his keynote address, Dr Christian Koerner from the University of Basel, Switzerland pointed out the rate at which trees grow should not be confused with carbon storage because growth in itself is part of the carbon cycle.
Old forests are like "capital", storing more carbon but producing less whereas young forests hold less "capital" but provide more "cash", he said.
Hailing the timeliness of the symposium, given that 2015 will see an end of the Millennium Development Goals, Dr Maharaj Muthoo, President, Roman Forum in Italy laid emphasis on public-private partnership and forest certification as a mechanism for getting the most out of sustainable forest development.