Key messages

  • Sustainable forest management curbs forest degradation and deforestation while increasing direct benefits to people and the environment.
  • At the local level, sustainable forest management contributes to people's livelihoods, income generation and employment. At the environmental level, it contributes to, for example, carbon sequestration and water and soil conservation.
  • In 2015, forests covered about 30.6 percent of the world's total land area; about 3 999 million hectares.
  • Forests contain more than half of the world's terrestrial biodiversity and store carbon in both above- and below-ground biomass.
  • The forest sector contributes about $600 billion annually to global GDP and provides employment to over 50 million people.
  • Extent of the world's forest continues to decline as human populations continue to grow and demand for food and land increases. Some 129 million hectares of forest - an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa - have been lost since 1990.
  • Fire, forest pests and climate change are also contributing to loss of forests around the world.


State of the World’s Forests 2016: Forests and agriculture - land use challenges and opportunities Agriculture remains the most significant driver of global deforestation. However, it is possible under certain conditions to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security while also halting deforestation. [more]
Sustainable Forestry: a Safety-Net for Gambella Refugees and Host Communities An FAO project in the Gambella region is working to support the energy needs of the large refugee community, in order to reduce the negative impacts on local forest resources and alleviate the pressure on the host population. [more]
Empowering forest communities in The Gambia A nationwide programme to transfer government-owned forest land to local communities is changing lives in The Gambia while promoting the sustainable management of its forests. [more]
Boosting income and forest cover in Viet Nam Globally, agriculture remains the most significant driver of global deforestation. Yet in Viet Nam, food security and forest cover have both increased significantly in the last 25 years thanks to economic and agricultural reforms as well as an increased emphasis on community-based forest management. [more]


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Making forest concessions in the tropics work to achieve the 2030 Agenda: Voluntary Guidelines The decision to develop a set of voluntary guidelines for forest concessions in the tropics, in the context of the 2030 Agenda, stems from the need to advance the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM). In tropical countries, where deforestation rates are decreasing but remain alarming, and public production forests represent a large share of total production forests, the impact of forest concessions as a policy instrument can be significant. [more]
Managing forests in displacement settings This document aims to contribute on a sustainable forest management in displacement settings for building resilience and laying the basis for long-term solutions. In particular, well-planned forestry interventions can ensure a sustainable supply of woodfuel, timber and non-wood forest products for those communities, thereby helping ensure their well-being. [more]
Rethinking Forest Concessions This report forms part of a review aimed at providing advice on improving forest concession systems in tropical forests. he review was carried out by FAO in cooperation with the International Tropical Timber Organization, the Brazilian Forest Service, the Center for International Forestry Research and Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement. [more]
Managing heat in agricultural work This report reviews the implications of heat stress in working environments in agriculture (with a focus on farming and forestry), how it affects the human body, the risks it poses to human health, how it is measured, how it affects labour productivity, and how it can be managed. Heat stress has a negative effect on worker performance, and exposure to severe heat stress can be fatal; nevertheless, it can be greatly reduced with proper work organization and education. [more]
Traceability: a management tool for business and governments This publication outlines the vital factors to be taken into account when designing a traceability system and illustrates the added benefits to governments, the private sector and community forests through five case studies from African countries. [more]


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Expert interviews

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More expert interviews


Rome conference addresses challenges to forest sector - Interview with Peter Csoka, Senior forestry Officer at FAO
Planning sustainable forests 
 Monitoring carbon stocks in Tanzania 


last updated:  Thursday, June 21, 2018