Reliable information on forests is fundamental for improving the management of forest resources. This information can be used as an indicator of biodiversity, hydrology, and soil conservation and is also needed to fulfil the reporting requirements of many international agreements, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In this context, the 21st Committee on Forestry requested FAO to prepare a set of voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring.
Forest dependent people are often located in remote and poor areas where livelihood opportunities are limited. Poverty, vulnerability, marginalization and social exclusion are among the major challenges they face. In these contexts, forests often serve as a safety net to cope with crises, which can lead to the unsustainable management of forest resources.
What is the role of social protection in promoting and protecting the livelihood of forest-dependent people?
Forests, trees on farms and agroforestry systems contribute to food security, nutrition and livelihoods in several ways, including as a direct source of food, fuel, employment and cash income. Such contributions are often under-estimated in policy decisions. What are the bottlenecks hindering a greater contribution of forests, trees on farms and agroforestry systems to food security? Are there examples of innovative approaches or good practices? How can forests and trees feature more prominently in food security policies?
Enhancing the socioeconomic benefits from forests
Across the world, forests, trees on farms, and agroforestry systems play a crucial role in the livelihoods of rural people by providing employment, energy, nutritious foods and a wide range of other goods and ecosystem services. They have tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development and to a greener economy. Yet, clear evidence of this has been lacking. This evidence is critical to inform policies on forest management and use, and to ensure that the benefi ts from forests are recognized in the post-2015 development agenda, not only with respect to the environment, but also for their contributions to broader social issues.
This edition of State of the World’s Forests addresses this knowledge gap by systematically gathering and analysing available data on forests’ contributions to people’s livelihoods, food, health, shelter and energy needs. Crucially, the report also suggests how information might be improved and policies adjusted, so that the socioeconomic benefits from forests can be enhanced in the future.