Tropical forests are disappearing fast- at a current pace of around 13 million hectares a year, according to FAO(2005)
Forest-related activities should not damage the forest to the extent that its capacity to deliver products and services - such as timber, water and biodiversity conservation - is significantly reduced. Forest management should also aim to balance the needs of different forest users so that its benefits and costs are shared equitably.
Global warming is real and happening all around the world. While greenhouse gases emitted from factories and vehicles each amount to 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions, an astonishing amount of 20% of all greenhouse gases come from the destruction of forests around the world. Alarmingly, 4,000 square meters of forests are lost every second. When tropical forests are destroyed, biodiversity is also lost at a very fast pace.
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is a UN treaty-based organization that tackles these very issues related to tropical forests. To inform younger generations about the problems of forest loss and global warming, ITTO is launching a new educational programme about the tropical forests for students all over the world. This programme will address critical issues of forest management and conservation, biodiversity preservation and roles of forests. In offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, tropical forest conservation is one of the most important factors to consider when addressing global warming problems, but it is often overlooked in educational systems.
Teaching its importance to children is essential in pursuing a balance between environment and development in our world. Everyone shares the same environment, and with greater awareness, we can learn to achieve a common goal to conserve the tropical forests to sustain the health of the planet.
ITTO’s CEEP programme will commence activities in the areas of (1) Supplementary Teaching Materials; (2) School Forests; (3) Forest-Friendship Experience; (4) Learning Network; (5) Forest Education Camp; (6) Dispatch of Lecturers; and (7) Environmental Education Conferences in 2009-2011.