Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Sustainable Forest Management

Forests and trees make vital contributions both to people and the planet, bolstering livelihoods, providing clean air and water, conserving biodiversity and responding to climate change.

FAO helps countries manage their forests in a sustainable way.

The Organization's approach balances social, economic and environmental objectives so that present generations can reap the benefits of the earth's forest resources while conserving them to meet the needs of future generations. Following this approach, FAO assists countries in their efforts to address policy issues related to forests and climate change by integrating climate change considerations into national forest-related policies and actions.

The importance of forests in helping to achieve global sustainable development has been largely acknowledged by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. Seeking to enhance forests’ socio-economic and environmental benefits on world-wide scale, the Organization makes efforts to provide countries with the best available practices of sustainable forest management.

Key policy messages

·        World’s forests area is shrinking by the day. By halting deforestation, managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded forests and increasing the global forest area, potentially damaging consequences for the planet and its people can be avoided. Governments need to foster holistic approach that promotes the benefits of forests and trees, engaging all stakeholders. Integrating agricultural and landscape approaches into forest policies and programmes is essential for addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, also to increase contribution from forests and trees to sustainable agro-forestry landscapes and the SDGs.

·        Forest policy can be an effective instrument for achievement of food security and poverty alleviation. Integrating socioeconomic and natural recourses management evidence into forest policy formulation can support combination of policy objectives contributing to deliver balanced solutions to increase food production, generating employment and income, expanding forest cover and fostering multiple benefits.

·        Forest policies and practices through sustainable forest management should not only enhance resilience of forest ecosystems to climate change, but should also serve as fundamental foundation for climate change adaptation and mitigation, providing benefits of continuous sustainable landscape and nexus for both urban and rural communities and thus being essential to the planet’s healthy and productive future.

·        Integrating forests and trees into sustainable development strategies requires effective partnerships and society engagement. Clear legal frameworks and coherent policy measures that balance stakeholder interests are part of the enabling environment needed. Evidence-based forest policy and programmes enhances a balanced delivery of environmental and socioeconomic benefits from forests and trees, and can harness forest contributions to achievement of several SDGs, climate change objectives and the Global Forest Goals.

·        FAO provides active support and guidance to countries’ forest policy development, implementation and reviews processes at the national and regional levels, thus enhancing forest-and-trees-based solutions in agricultural, rural and urban landscape management, which can effectively solve triple challenges of food security, energy security and climate security, opening up possibilities for a sustainable growth.

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