You are here: Hilary Benn calls for an end to deforestation

Hilary Benn calls for an end to deforestation

Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday and went straight into a conference on deforestation along with his Danish counterpart. Mr Benn spoke passionately about the links between deforestation, illegal logging and climate change.  He said:

"Our ancient forests continue to fall at an alarming rate. Illegal logging and the international trade in illegal timber damage the environment, cost governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, encourage corruption, undermine the rule of law and fund armed conflict.

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us that land conversion and deforestation causes nearly two billion tonnes of carbon to be emitted each year. That’s around a fifth of all global emissions. And as each tree falls so does the earth’s ability to heal itself and to adapt to the effects of our changing climate."

Mr Benn outlined the ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) plan’ and explained how this simple concept – pay forest-rich countries to keep forests standing – could present a very real opportunity to make a difference on a global scale. Putting a price on nature could help to conserve our natural resources and ensure it can continue to provide benefits to the whole world.

In the UK, Defra is already working to ensure that the importance of our natural systems to our economy and society are recognised.

Defra supports the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) which will provide the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity.

To find out more about how we can all value the benefits that the natural environment provides, take a look at the Defra’s ‘Ecosystems services’ pages.  Here you will find resources and advice to help determine the true value of the natural environment and ensure it is reflected in society.

Further information

Page last modified: 14 December 2009
Page published: 14 December 2009