ASEAN forestry initiatives to include herbal database and expansion of REDD scheme

ASEAN forestry officials have agreed to strengthen cooperation on sustainable forest management including the creation of a database of information compiled about herbal plant species found in South East Asian forests.

ASEAN members will also pursue revisions to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in South Africa in December,to ensure that efforts to protect woodlands in the region continue.

Delegates at the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry meeting held in Bangkok agreed to push for extending the United Nations' Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme, which aims to cut carbon emissions that result from forest destruction, such as flooding and deforestation. As only forest plantations are eligible for financial support from the scheme, ASEAN wants to expand the program to include natural forests, such as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

"ASEAN countries think the REDD scheme, which was drafted mainly by European countries, should be more flexible and practical for developing countries," Thailand's forestry chief, Suwit Rattanamanee, told The Bangkok Post.