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Minister says forests need more protection

Swiss Environment Minister Doris Leuthard has called for sustainable development in forestry, saying trees provided barriers against natural dangers.

Speaking after a guided walkabout in woods near the capital Bern, Leuthard said the quest for profit at any cost was misplaced if forests were to be preserved for future generations. She added that forests played an important role as water reserves and carbon sinks.

“We have to learn to think more long term and adapt more to the lifespan of the trees,” she said, as part of a presentation on Swiss forestry policy to mark in the International Year of the Forest.

Leuthard said the authorities had to reconcile environmental considerations with economic exploitation as well as with the demands of agriculture and urbanisation. “This task is not easy but it is achievable,” she said.

The rate of afforestation continues to grow in Switzerland; it has increased 50 per cent in the past 150 years. Parliament is due to vote on a new forestry law shortly. and agencies

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