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


The role of forest smallholders and their organizations in changing climate 7 July 2017 This publication summarizes the findings of a review of the innovative ways in which smallholder forest producer organizations in developing countries are contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation. [more]
Keeping an Eye on SDG 15 28 June 2017 The brochure presents the three indicators under SDG 15 for which FAO is the custodian agency: 15.1.1-Forest area as a proportion of total land area, 15.2.1-Progress towards sustainable forest management and 15.4.2-Mountain Green Cover Index. Countries provide FAO with data for indicators 15.1.1 and 15.2.1 as part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) process. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) produces data for indicator 15.4.2 using remote sensing, and national-level data are distributed to governments for validation. FAO supports countries in their monitoring efforts through advanced software tools, training and networking. [more]
Guide for planning, construction and maintenance of forest roads 2 May 2017 An introduction to forest road network planning with guidance on road construction under various site conditions. [more]
National demand for sawnwood in Cameroon 14 February 2017 The economic and social importance of domestic wood consumption is now recognized in Central Africa, but it is largely fuelled by informal timber. No one has yet developed a global understanding of these sectors in order to develop the conditions for improving the legality of such trade and practices. The objective of this report is to review the different types of demand and supply of wood products on the Cameroonian domestic market (Yaoundé and Douala) in order to identify the possibilities of promoting consumption of sawnwood and furniture of legal origin, which would enhance the sustainable management of wood resources and sustainable economic growth in the long term. [more]
Promoting Private Sector Investments in Sustainable Forestry: Expert Workshop on Financial and Institutional Innovation for Reducing the Risks of Private Sector Investments in Sustainable Forestry 24 November 2016 This workshop was organized in the framework of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) led initiative on “Financial and institutional risk mitigation and management strategies”. This initiative stems from the lack of significant funding for the forest sector in key areas of intervention such as forest plantations, natural forest management, small and medium forest enterprises, local and community forestry, and large‐scale forest investment projects including REDD+, while private capital is available for investments. Underlying efficient business models can bring substantial financial returns to investors in all these activities, but many traditional investors are still reluctant to invest. [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, October 17, 2016