States endorsing the document confirm that forest management plays an important role in attaining the objectives of the Paris Agreement, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of the Environment said.

“As Estonia is rich in woodland, adopting the declaration is of great importance to us. We have stepped into a new era when it comes to decreasing the impact of climate change and adapting to it, and forests have a significant role in it,” Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler was quoted in a press release as saying.

“Forests are the main carbon sinks. Thus we cannot overlook forests’ vulnerability to climate changes. Climate policy must ensure that carbon dioxide emissions are reduced and that forests’ maximum resilience to the impact of climate change is guaranteed,” Kiisler said.

The declaration focuses on comprehensive and sustainable management of forests.

“Estonia is at the forefront of the European Union when it comes to the share of strictly protected forests. Our woodlands are managed sustainably, maintaining their viability, biodiversity and the stability thereof,” Kiisler said, adding that when it comes to forest management, Estonia’s principle is that the woodlands should provide economic, social, environmental as well as cultural benefits both to generations of today as well as to those of the future. “When we follow those principles, UN positions on sustainable management of forests are supported, too,” he said.

The Ministerial Declaration on Forests for the Climate was initiated by Poland, the organizer of the climate conference. The political declaration focuses on the role of forests in mitigating climate change and adapting to it on a global scale.

As forests have a decisive role to play in the sequestration and storage of carbon, the destruction and deterioration of forests must be decreased in the world. Forests’ capacity as carbon sinks and their aptitude for adapting to climate change needs to be improved by means of sustainable forest management. Forests’ role as an important agent in other areas must be taken into consideration as well, it is said in the declaration.