State of the World's Forests
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Evolution of forest policies and future directions
Evolving forest policies
Forest policies and sustainable development
Forests in national policy
Forests, trade and the environment
Forests and future directions
Developments in community forestry
The international dimensions
Forests, economic development and the environment
Forest products and services
Forests as a source of national development
The economic contributions of forests
World trade patterns in forest products
The outlook for the forestry sector in the economy
The state of forest resources
Forests in the tropical zone
Forests in the temperate zone
Forest management for wood production
Forest management for conservation
European forests and forestry
An overview of the forestry situation in Latin America and the Caribbean
Forests are complex ecosystems capable of providing a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits. Forests provide products and services which contribute directly to the well-being of people everywhere and are vital to our economies, our environment and our daily lives. While forests and woodlands are now recognized as essential for human life, their benefits and services are valued differently by different people and different groups.
Moreover, the numerous roles that forests are expected to play in local, national and global development continue to change over time. These shifting and sometimes conflicting expectations create difficult policy challenges related to both the forest sector and national development.
Concern about forestry's evolving roles was the subject of intense debate at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992. UNCED highlighted forestry development and environmental issues by developing a set of ‘forest principles’, devoting a chapter of its programme of action, Agenda 21, to combating deforestation (Chapter 11) and focusing on the importance of non-wood functions of forests in the biological diversity and climate change conventions.
A number of countries have launched specific international initiatives to follow up on UNCED forestry recommendations. This broad consensus on principles of sustainable forest management represents the first-ever commitment of responsibilities beyond national boundaries. Turning these principles into practice, however, presents a more formidable task.
At its 12th Session in March 1995, the Committee on Forestry plans to review progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and to discuss the major forestry issues to be considered by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its third session in April 1995. The purpose of this statement on the state of the world's forests is to summarize the main areas of factual information and present some of the important policy issues facing the international community.
This presentation brings together information from the Global Forest Resources Assessment 1990, the FAO Yearbook of Forest Products, the 1994 State of Food and Agriculture special chapter, ‘Forest Development and Policy Dilemmas’, the Forestry Chapter of Agriculture Towards 2010 and The Challenge of Sustainable Forest Management. These FAO reports analyse the state of forest resources and the role of forests in sustainable development, and provide background information for FAO's report to the Secretariat of the Commission on Sustainable Development. This statement on the state of the world's forests presents a synthesis of this background information. It also includes two regional reviews, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, which were prepared in the context of recent FAO regional forestry meetings. Reviews of forestry in other regions will be included in future editions.
For further information, please contact:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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