Key messages


  • The world’s forests play a central role in combating climate change by absorbing and storing carbon from the  atmosphere in their vegetation and soils.
  • Almost as much carbon is stored in forests (650 billion tons) as in the atmosphere (760 billion tons).
  • Forests are crucial in helping us adapt to climate change as they help ensure water availability, protect against landslides, prevent desertification and provide alternative livelihoods for people.
  • Protecting forests conserves the biodiversity that is vital for plants, humans and other animals to adapt to climate change.   
  • Forests have four major roles in climate change: their clearance, overuse and degradation contribute about one-sixth of global carbon emissions; they react sensitively to a changing climate; when managed sustainably, they produce woodfuels as a benign alternative to fossil fuels; and finally, they have the potential to absorb about one-tenth of global carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century into their biomass, soils and products and store them - in principle in perpetuity. 


Sustainable forests: a powerful ally against climate change Climate change is subjecting our planet to unsustainable pressures. Forests and trees trap and store carbon as they grow – standing at the frontline against climate change. [more]
Turning the tide on desertification in Africa In Senegal, the Acacia project has involved the planting and managing of Acacia forests in arid lands helping combat desertification while providing life-changing benefits to local communities. [more]
Action Against Desertification Over the next decade, 50 million people may be displaced by desertification - the result of climate change and the depletion of natural resources. [more]
Soil Carbon Monitoring in Tanzania Deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries account for nearly 20% of green house gas emissions worldwide, which is why estimating and reducing these emissions has become a key goal for the international community. [more]


 All climate change videos


Climate change for forest policy-makers This document has been developed to help forest policy-makers integrate climate change into existing national forest policy. It uses 'good governance' as a driving principle and overall framework. It also encourages policy-makers to address forestry issues in a consistent manner in all national climate change strategies, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and other related policies and plans. [more]
FAO's work on climate change: Forests and Climate Change The publication aims to provide a broad range of data and statistics on forests, and the impact and benefits that forestry has on our environment. It also offers some general information and data about the impact forests and forestry can have in mitigating the effects of climate change, as well as information concerning how they are, in turn, affected by climate change. [more]
FAO strategy on climate change FAO considers climate change a top-line corporate priority - as reflected in the newly-endorsed Strategy on Climate Change where FAO will focus its work on three fronts. First, to enhance institutional and technical capacities of Member States. Second, to improve integration of food security, agriculture, forestry and fisheries within the international climate agenda. And third, to strengthen internal coordination and delivery of FAO’s work. [more]


 More publications


Towards a better conservation of forest resources in Viet Nam 
Monitoring carbon stocks in Tanzania 

last updated:  Monday, December 17, 2018