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]
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]
Reclaiming the forests of Costa Rica After decades of clear-cutting forests for cattle pastures and commodity crops, Costa Rica’s forest cover has now increased to 54 percent, thanks to more sustainable agriculture practices, stronger legal controls over land use, and funding for forest protection. [more]


 All sustainable forest management videos 

Expert interviews

Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management - Experience in Canada Simon Bridge of Natural Resources Canada explains how criteria and indicators have had an impact on sustainable forest management in Canada and beyond. [more]
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management – Global forest indicators Independent consultant Kit Prins explains the next steps to develop a set of global forest indicators to address the information demands of key global policy processes. [more]
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management - Experience in Ghana Valerie Fumey Nassah of the Resource Management Support Centre, Forestry Commission, Ghana, explains how criteria and indicators have had an impact on sustainable forest management in Ghana. [more]
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management – Global reporting Jenny Wong of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks about the next steps to foster collaboration in global reporting on sustainable forest management. [more]
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management – Harmonizing C&I Chris Henschel of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) International, explains what can be done to promote more harmonized criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management. [more]




Sustainable woodfuel for food security A smart choice: green, renewable and affordable With food insecurity, climate change and deforestation and forest degradation remaining key global issues, this paper highlights the role of sustainable woodfuel in improving food security. Food insecurity and a high dependence on woodfuel as a primary cooking fuel are characteristics common to vulnerable groups of people in developing regions of the world.With adequate policy and legal frameworks in place, woodfuel production and harvesting can be sustainable and a main source of green energy. [more]
Benin: Government agency blazes a trail for traceability Tracing wood back to the forest it came from is essential to eliminating illegal logging. The National Timber Office of Benin (ONAB), with assistance from the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, established an innovative traceability system for its teak plantations that helps prevent illegal logging, transport or sale of state timber. [more]
Forest and Farm Facility: Initiative for climate-resilient landscapes and improved livelihoods 2018 - 2022 Since 2013, the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) has been empowering forest and farm producers and their organizations, the “missing links” that are needed to put the SDGs and NDCs into practice. Evidence from the last four years and strong demand for FFF support from FFPOs and governments in more than 50 countries worldwide has shaped our proposed Phase II. [more]
Greening Zambia's charcoal business for improved livelihoods and forest management through strong producer groups Finding ways to effectively monitor, manage and support sustainable productionand trade in wood fuel, especially charcoal, is critical for countries across muchof Africa today. In Zambia, the government, with the support of the Forest andFarm Facility (FFF), is exploring ways to help recognize and organize the actorsin charcoal value chains, contributing to more sustainable management andimproved capture of value by producers, traders and by the government. [more]
Voluntary Guidelines on National Forest Monitoring FAO carries out this mandate and seeks to assist countries and the world community by providing relevant, timely, realistic, reliable and useful information for application in reviewing policies, promoting multilateral cooperation and taking appropriate investment actions for the sustainable management of forest resources; and to support international cooperation in harmonizing and sharing multi-country forest resource information in common formats. In this context, the need for voluntary guidelines on forest monitoring has emerged. [more]


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 Planning sustainable forests Duration: 8min
 Monitoring carbon stocks in Tanzania Duration: 4min


last updated:  Tuesday, March 6, 2018