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ADB Documentary Calls for Forest Protection Against Climate Change

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released the documentary film "Forests for Our Future" on Thursday to mark the 38th World Environment Day, urging the world to pool its efforts for forests protection and fight against climate change.

Robert Wihtol, country director of ADB's China Mission, said that protecting forests was an important carbon-storing initiative as they act as lungs for the planet, storing the carbon emitted.

"Forests also protect wildlife and provide home, food and life support for people who live in them and depend on them."

The documentary introduces some pilot forest protection programs in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, where the communities and governments are working together to reduce the damage that is being done to these unique bio-diverse landscapes.

In 2006, the GMS countries launched the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative (BCI).

Wihtol said the BCI was a key element of the GMS Core Environment Program, a joint action plan to improve environmental management across the region.

Working with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and local communities, the biodiversity conservation project is underway in six forest landscapes of five Mekong countries.

According to the ADB, one such tropical rain forest lies in Xishuangbanna in south China's Yunnan Province. Animals such as tigers, red deer and bears have disappeared there because of habitat destruction and from the effect of human activities.

Wihtol said the protection activities in Xishuangbanna did not stand alone, adding that each forest was important and only by joining forces with our neighbors could we develop a strong response to the threats that climate change can pose to biodiversity.

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2008)

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