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.


Expert interviews


State of the World’s Forests 2016 18 July 2016 State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2016 shows that it is possible to increase agricultural productivity and food security while halting or even reversing deforestation, highlighting the successful efforts of Costa Rica, Chile, the Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Tunisia and Viet Nam. Integrated land-use planning is the key to balancing land uses, underpinned by the right policy instruments to promote both sustainable forests and agriculture. [more]
Unasylva 245: Forest and landscape restoration 27 February 2016 Forest and landscape restoration is a key issue in the ongoing discussions at the Paris Climate Change Conference, convened to broker a game-changing agreement on climate change. On a planet where the mark of human activity is almost ubiquitous, restoration is by necessity a concept that has to take into account human well-being and ongoing change. In addition, in order to succeed in the long term, forest and landscape restoration initiatives will need to successfully engage a range of stakeholders, from policy-makers to local communities and from governments to private actors. This issue of Unasylva maps out some of the progress that has already been made, and the challenges that lie ahead. [more]
Infographic: How are the world's forests changing? 21 December 2015 Facts and figures from the Global Forest Resource Assessment 2015. Forested areas have decreased but rate of net forest loss has been cut by 50%. [more]
Policy brief: Making national forest funds more effective 24 November 2015 This short publication gives an overview of the mechanism of financing sustainable forest management projects through national forest funds (NFFs) and on how this mechanism can be used in an effective way. [more]
Infographic: Key messages on sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration 4 November 2015 FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD have released an infographic with key messages, facts and figures on the costs and benefits of investments for forest and landscape restoration. Mechanisms of funding and risk coverage for investors are identified, with examples from diverse funding sources. [more]



Planning sustainable forests
Fernando Salinas, FAO Regional Office for Africa, talks about the Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Utilization of the Forest Ecosystems in West Africa.

Monitoring carbon stocks in Tanzania
Duration: 4min.27sec Format: mp3


last updated:  Monday, June 20, 2016