Press "Enter" to skip to content

“Overconsumption is a driver of many of our environmental trade-offs”

An interview with Luc Bas, Director of IUCN’s European Office

Forests are among our planet’s most important human life-supporting ecosystems, and we have many expectations with regards to the ecosystem services they provide. But: how do major global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss affect forests globally, and what can forest governance and management do? How can we deal with rising and changing demands for forest products and ecosystem services due to global population and economic growth, and urbanisation?

In order to discuss these questions, the conference “Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services” brought together policymakers, practitioners and academic researchers from different fields on 26-28 February in Bonn. During this event, EFI in collaboration with documentary filmmaker Patrick Augenstein, interviewed Luc Bas, Director of The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) European Regional Office.

Lucs key message is that environmental, climate and nature degradation debates are ultimately redistribution debates. He refers to overconsumption as a driver of many of the environmental trade-offs and that people, for example in Europe, do not see the direct effects of their behavior, undermining the planetary boundary.

Additionally, Luc connects the discussion to some of the outcomes of the recently published book Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People. For example, activities to achieve SGD 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) are likely to involve infrastructure development, which in turn may lead to forest loss, especially in less developed countries.

“Often management of protected areas is seen as a cost, and we should really see this as an investment. To call it an investment, there is a need for return on investment. If you don’t value the natural capital in a proper way, it will be really difficult to make the case for those who own the land and want to see a return on their investment” 

Luc Bas

He also questions why Europe has not contributed to the Bonn Challenge (apart from Scotland). This global effort aims to bring millions of hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration. The Government of Germany and IUCN launched this initiative in 2011. At the 2014 UN Climate Summit the inititiative was endorsed by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.  

The interview with Luc is the first of a series of interviews, all produced during the conference.

Leave a Reply