Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 15.2.1 - Progress towards sustainable forest management

This indicator measures progress towards Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through five subindicators. As an aid to interpretation, a dashboard of traffic lights is used, with green, yellow and red indicating the direction and rate of change in each of the subindicators. The indicator will contribute to track progress towards SDG Target 15.2.

By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Progress towards sustainable forest management by region, 2010-2020

SDG Region
Forest area annual net change rate 1
Above-ground biomass stock in forest (t/ha)
Proportion of forest area within
legally established protected areas
Proportion of forest area under a long-term
forest management plan
Forest area certified
Central and Southern Asia
Central Asia
Southern Asia
Eastern and South-Eastern Asia
Eastern Asia
South-Eastern Asia
Northern Africa and Western Asia
Northern Africa
Western Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa
Europe and Northern America
Northern America
Latin America and the Caribbean
Oceania (exc. Australia and New Zealand)
Australia and New Zealand
Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs)
Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
Small island developing States (SIDS)
  • Positive change
  • No/small change
  • Negative change

NOTES: 1 Calculated using compound interest formula.


Together with indicator 15.1.1, this indicator ensures forests are efficiently managed, and a better balance is struck between conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Key results

Significant progress all over the world towards sustainable forest management, but forest loss remains high

Indicator 15.2.1 shows evident progress towards sustainable management of the world’s forest. Most sub-indicators show positive trends, while comparing the period 2010-2020 to the period 2000-2010, demonstrating successful efforts to conserve and sustainably use the forests. Globally, the following have increased in most regions:

  • the area of forest under certification

  • the proportion of forest area in protected area and under long-term management plans

  • the above-ground forest biomass per hectare

Despite this positive outlook, deforestation and forest degradation are still concern in some regions, particularly in the tropics, indicating need for more action to reduce deforestation and implement sustainable forest and land management practices.

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