At the Ministerial Conference on Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change held in the Netherlands in November, 1989, the Noordwijk Declaration on Climate Change advocated a world net forest growth of 12 million hectares per year by the turn of the century while a global forest cover of 30 per cent by the year 2000 was proposed at the second Ministerial Conference of Developing Countries on Environment and Development held in Malaysia in April, 1992.
There is every indication that the existing global forest cover should be enhanced through greening of the world. In this connection, restoration of all deforested lands in the industrialised world to close to the original levels of forest coverage is improbable, but this does not mean significant reforestation and afforestation are impossible. All countries which aim for a sound environmental future should set themselves a target of a minimum level of forest cover to be maintained in perpetuity. Countries having more than 30 per cent of their land areas under forest cover after taking into account their socio-economic development needs, particularly the developing countries, should be given incentives to improve the quality of their forests, as well as assistance given to reduce their dependence on wood especially as fuel. On the other hand, countries having less than 30 per cent of their land areas under forest cover, but have the means must increase and enhance their forest cover through rehabilitation and afforestation, which may include, in some cases, the conversion of heavily subsidised farms back to forests. As for those countries which are rich but are constrained by physical and climatic conditions to grow trees because of their geographic locations, they could play their roles by assisting the poorer countries in increasing and enhancing their forest cover.
As the future of forests are not only dependent on their quantity, but their quality as well, it is pertinent that all forests, especially those...
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