France says it needs to invest billions in next decade to protect its forests

France says it needs to invest billions in next decade to protect its forests

Nearly 30% of country’s tree species may disappear by 2050, says report by Agricultural Ministry

By Zeynep Katre Oran

France needs to invest up to €10 billion ($10.9 billion) within the next decade to protect its forests from the adverse effects of climate change such as forest fires, drought and extreme temperatures, state-owned Radio France Internationale (RFI) said Thursday.

According to a report by the French Agriculture Ministry, forested areas in France are "alarmingly under threat" from climate change.

It stressed the need for public support to protect 15% of France’s forest land, or 1.05 million hectares (2.6 million acres), over the next decade.

The report identified a lack of people to plant and manage the forests as the “biggest limiting factor."

It emphasized that France will need to see a 50% increase in manpower “to plan the number of trees needed.”

French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau emphasized the importance of intervention in forested areas exceeding millions of hectares.

To prevent a decrease in the number of trees, the government wants to increase its commitment to reforestation from the current €150 million in 2023, with a dedicated permanent fund to cover efforts as of next year.

Fesneau also said his ministry would provide support to public and private seed and plant growers to find better adapted varieties like linden, maple and sycamore trees

- Nearly 30% of tree species in France may disappear by 2050

The Ministry of Ecological Transition and Regional Cohesion also issued a statement warning that trees are being harmed by extreme heat and increasingly frequent heat waves, and by 2050, nearly 30% of tree species could face extinction.

It pointed out that the progressive loss of carbon-storing trees, which is one of the main contributors to climate change, could lead to more significant issues in the future.

Without trees to capture carbon, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere will rise, making it harder for France to meet its commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

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