Sustainable forest management

Natural forest for timber production at Jari Florestal, Brazil (©FAO / Sabogal, C.)

Sustainable forest management addresses forest degradation and deforestation while increasing direct benefits to people and the environment. At the social level, sustainable forest management contributes to livelihoods, income generation and employment. At the environmental level, it contributes to important services such as carbon sequestration and water, soil and biodiversity conservation.

FAO’s role in sustainable forest management

Managing forests sustainably means increasing their benefits, including timber and food, to meet society’s needs in a way that conserves and maintains forest ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations.

Many of the world's forests and woodlands, especially in the tropics and subtropics, are still not managed sustainably. Some countries lack appropriate forest policies, legislation, institutional frameworks and incentives to promote sustainable forest management, while others may have inadequate funding and lack of technical capacity.Where forest management plans exist, they are sometimes limited to ensuring the sustained production of wood, without paying attention to the many other products and services that forests offer .

At the same time, other land uses such as agriculture can seem financially more attractive in the short term than forest management, motivating deforestation and land-use changes.

FAO helps countries overcome these challenges by providing policy advice as well as supporting capacity building through field projects, workshops, seminars and hands-on training. The Organization also helps countries in the assessment of their forest resources, definition of the elements of sustainable forest management and monitoring their progress towards it. FAO helps identify, test and promote innovative, multipurpose forest management approaches and techniques that respond to the need for mitigating and adapting to a changing climate, increased demand for wood and non-wood forest products and services, and threats from fires, pests and natural disasters.

 FAO promotes sustainable forest management by working at the international level and through collaborative partnerships to address and help solve regional and global forest-related issues.

Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox

FAO has recently launched a Sustainable Forest Management Toolbox , a comprehensive online technical package of tools and examples to facilitate and guide the implementation of sustainable forest management in various contexts.  The Toolbox aims to make the wide body of collective knowledge and experience about sustainable forest management more accessible to forest managers and other stakeholders, thereby supporting SFM dissemination and implementation on the ground.

Other resources


External links

last updated:  Tuesday, May 2, 2017