Forest health

Abiotic and biotic disturbances have major impacts on the health and vitality of the world’s forests and can result in substantial economic and environmental losses. They can have adverse effects on tree growth and survival, yield and quality of wood and non-wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation and scenic and cultural values. Global climate change is exacerbating these impacts and there is still major uncertainty about the interactions between disturbance, climate change and forests.

Please browse our website to find more information on global forest health issues and how FAO is working to address them.


Activities in the FAO forest protection and health programme aim to assist, advise and support countries and national institutes to safeguard the health and vitality of forests, forest ecosystems and trees outside forests, with special reference to insect pests, diseases and other harmful biotic and abiotic agents. FAO provides advice on preventive measures and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and on recommended action to minimize risks of transboundary transfer. FAO offers assistance to countries not only in response to pest outbreaks and emergencies but also in establishing long-term prevention and forest protection strategies.

Direct technical assistance to countries is provided predominantly through FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), in response to requests from governments related to specific pest problems affecting forests and food security. All projects offer more than emergency assistance, helping countries also to develop pest management strategies to prevent further outbreaks in the medium and long term.

FAO developed a tool to help foresters to deal with increasing threats posed by pest movement in expanded international trade coupled with local climatic change which may increase the potential for establishment of pests in new areas. The Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry, prepared by a mutlistakeholder process, provides clear and concise guidance on forest health practices that will help to minimize pest presence and spread. Strengthening country capacity to implement the guide is a strong focus and an ongoing activity.

FAO has helped establish regional networks dedicated to the issue of forest pests, primarily forest invasive species, and the forest sector. These networks aim to facilitate the exchange of information and the mobilization of resources, raise regional awareness, and act as a link between and among experts, institutions, networks and other stakeholders concerned with forest invasive species.



last updated:  Monday, August 29, 2016