Responding to a question by Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett, Mr Bell said "renewed attention" had to be paid to the targets - not only to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to reduce future flood risks, encourage biodiversity and deliver economic growth and employment in rural areas.
The Scottish Government commitment is to plant 10,000 hectares of trees every year until 2022. Alexander Burnett noted that only 14,000 hectares had been planted over the last two years and said more had to be done.
Mr Bell told the committee: "If renewed attention is paid [to the targets], it has the potential to help on the adaptation side as well [as climate change] with flood prevention and biodiversity ... and the forestry industry, which is important to Scotland.
"It's about understanding how the forestry industry can continue to thrive and prosper alongside providing emissions reduction and things like flood prevention. It's getting the nexus of these three areas working together."
Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: "Matthew Bell was absolutely right to stress that forestry can tick all the boxes. It can play a fundamental role in meeting climate change targets, but that is just part of the story. We need to plant trees in modern, attractive forests, then manage those forests and harvest the trees to create the wood products we all need. When we cut the trees down, we re-plant. This creates a virtuous circle of economic, environmental and social benefit which makes for more vibrant and sustainable rural communities across Scotland."
Mr Goodall added: "The forestry sector is working very closely with Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, to drive up planting rates. He has already taken practical steps to tackle the barriers to creating new forests and has a real commitment to deliver on planting targets. If we can meet the targets and plan ahead to 2030, we can really start delivering the huge range of benefits outlined by Matthew Bell."