Forests

Forests cover 31 percent of the world’s land surface, store an estimated 296 gigatonnes of carbon and are home to the majority of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests are a source of fibre, fuel, food and fodder, and they provide livelihoods for millions of people, including many of the world’s poorest. Some 2.4 billion people use wood-based energy for cooking. Forests help mitigate climate change and improve soil, air and water quality. If sustainably managed, forests are also a source of renewable raw materials, making a crucial contribution to building circular economies.

Forestry Programme

Through its Forestry Programme, FAO seeks to have transformational impacts that benefit forests and forest-dependent people and help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. FAO’s approach balances economic, social and environmental objectives to enable the present generation to benefit from the Earth’s forest resources while conserving those resources to meet the needs of future generations. The Forestry Programme oversees more than 230 projects in 82 countries, with a total available project budget of USD 246 million (as of 2019). FAO is guided in its technical forestry work by the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and six regional forestry commissions.

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FAO’s work in forestry

FAO’s work in forestry is clustered around the following priorities:

1. Halting deforestation and forest degradation

2. Forest restoration, reforestation and afforestation

3. Conservation and sustainable use of forests to enhance forest-based livelihoods

4. Improving forest- related data and information and capacities

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