Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
Contribution to sustainable diets
Foods from forests and trees outside forests – such as leaves, seeds, nuts, honey, fruits, mushrooms, insects and wild animals – have been important parts of rural diets for thousands of years. Many forest and tree foods have very high nutritional value. Forest animal foods are rich in readily absorbed iron, zinc and vitamin B12, as well as proteins and fat, and forest leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts are important for the intake of vitamin A, iron, folate, niacin and calcium.
The potential for forest foods as elements of sustainable diets is largely untapped. Key constraints to unlocking this potential are knowledge gaps, issues related to tenure and access, and aspects of sustainability of extraction, among others.
Better integration of knowledge on nutritious forest and tree foods into national nutrition strategies and programmes, and the establishment of cross-sectoral policy platforms bringing together nutrition, food security, environment, agriculture, health, development, conservation and land‐use planning would help develop this potential.