EFI Director calls for a new economic paradigm

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Forests have a transformational potential in moving towards a new economic paradigm, a tertium quid, where prosperity takes place within our planetary boundaries as result of a synergistic symbiosis between economy and ecology.

This was one of the main points EFI Director Marc Palahí made in his keynote speech today at the opening of the 67th academic year at the Italian Academy of Forest Science in Florence. He focussed on the multiple roles forests play in our society. He pointed out that with the growing urban population, forests are the key to our sustainable well-being. While forests provide wood, which is the only significant construction material that is renewable and can be grown sustainably, wood is not the only thing that our forests offer. Placing trees and urban forests near buildings, can cut air conditioning use by 30%, and reduce heating energy use by 20 to 50%.

Palahí reminded the audience that not only forests inside cities provide direct benefits to urban populations. Forests outside cities for instance provide drinking water. In fact, forests, which after oceans are the main source of precipitation, are the main natural water infrastructures that we have, providing 75% of the world´s accessible fresh water resources.

Marc Palahí has recently received the title of an honorary member of the Academy.

Read the speech in full or watch the recording here (note that the speech starts at 40:00 minutes).