CAPE TOWN, June 18, Xinhua - The New Generation Plantations ( NGP) annual summit kicked off in South Africa's Cape Town on Wednesday to address challenges facing the forestry industry.
The summit, which will last until June 19, will look at two of the most important and challenging forestry frontiers today, namely social forestry and land-use.
Also participating in the summit are representatives from agriculture sectors, such as the sugar industry.
The NGP aims to broaden and share its experiences and learning with agricultural sectors in a resilient landscape approach, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) said in a statement.
The NGP, set up by the WWF in 2007, brings together companies, government forest agencies and conservationists from around the world to explore, share and promote better ways of planning and managing plantations.
The NGP seeks to engage with stakeholders, learn from them and to share these lessons.
"It is underpinned by the philosophy that well-managed plantations in the right places can take pressure off natural forests and eco-systems and improve the welfare of local communities," the WWF said.
Over the two-day meeting, over a hundred conferees from 20 nationalities will put their heads together to come up with ideas about how to enable skilled, motivated local people to run successful forestry businesses and manage productive plantations on their land to secure supply, reduce risks, and benefit communities and investors.
"Forestry and agriculture are important elements of productive landscapes, but we need to plan plantations as living landscapes that provide broad benefits to local and downstream communities," said Morné du Plessis, Chief Executive of WWF South Africa.
"It is no longer good enough to see agricultural and forestry land simply as only providing food and timber. We need to recognize that these landscapes also generate water, absorb carbon and harbor critical biodiversity, and they may help to control pests and pollinate crops." Plessis said.