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.


The Sustainable Development Goals need forests Thais Linhares Juvenal, Senior Forestry Officer at FAO, discusses the role sustainable wood can play in meeting the SDGs with environmental journalist James Astill. Forests are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and are a vital part of our global ecosystem. They not only contribute to greener economic growth, but also provide timber, food, fuel and medicine for more than a third of the world’s population. They are our life-support system. We must manage forests sustainably as it is forests that make sustainable development possible. [more]
Forest and Farm Facility amplifies the potential of forest and farm producer groups Halting deforestation: Concrete measures in the Paris Agreement The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) works directly with producer organizations to help them become stronger, amplify their potential and connect with each other. [more]
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]


 All sustainable forest management videos  



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]


 More publications 

Expert interviews

Thais Linhares Juvenal, FAO, discusses sustainable wood Thais Linhares Juvenal, Senior Forestry Officer at FAO, discusses the role sustainable wood can play in meeting the SDGs with environmental journalist James Astill. [more]
Halting deforestation: Concrete measures in the Paris Agreement Christiana Figueres, Convener of Mission 2020 and former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, explains how deforestation affects climate change and how concrete measures in the Paris Agreement can help halt deforestation. [more]
Halting deforestation in the UN Strategic Plan on Forests H.E. Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, Chair of the 13th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), explains the contribution of the international conference organized by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to the achievement of the UN Global Goals through the UN Strategic Plan on Forests. [more]
Integration between agriculture and forestry sectors can halt deforestation Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, explains the need to better integrate the agriculture and forestry sectors to reduce deforestation. [more]
Interview with Suzana Kahn-Ribeiro, Brazilian Panel on Climate Change Suzana Kahn-Ribeiro, President of the Scientific Committee of the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change (BPCC) and member of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), explains why wood plays a vital part in sustainable development. [more]

More expert interviews


The hidden value of forests
 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:  Friday, December 7, 2018