FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

The forests of Latin America and the Caribbean are key to the planet’s environmental sustainability and food security

The Latin America and the Caribbean Forestry Commission highlighted the strategic role of the region’s forests for improving life, combatting climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

13 September 2021- The need to move towards promoting more sustainable and resilient forest management, addressing the impacts of COVID-19, was one of the conclusions of the 32nd Meeting of the Latin America and the Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC).  

Held from 6-10 September, with Jamaica as the host country, the LACFC highlighted the importance of forests for improving people’s livelihoods, combatting the impacts of climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

“Forests play a strategic role for the future resilience of food systems. Sustainable forest products increase social, economic and environmental benefits”, said Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Julio Berdegué.

According to FAO, forests provide ecosystem services that are crucial for agriculture, such as regulating river flow, recharging groundwater and protecting soils.

Despite this, deforestation and forest degradation are increasing, contributing to the current loss of biodiversity: according to FAO data, South America lost 2.6 million hectares of forests each year in the period 2010-2020, the second highest rate in the world after Africa.   

Land tenure and investment in forests 

One of the areas highlighted during the LACFC was the importance of access to land, resources, investments in forests and how this can be boosted to improve the well-being of women, youth and indigenous communities.

To achieve gender equality in the sector, it is essential to improve their access to land, technology, credit, and training and to boost their participation in decision-making.

Experts gathered at the LACFC, also stressed the importance of the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) as a great opportunity for recovery.

About the LACFC

The mandate of the LACFC is to advise FAO on the most important issues relating to forests in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on national and regional priorities of the countries.  

The 32nd Meeting of the Forestry Commission was attended by more than 100 experts from 32 countries of the region, 22 organizations, as well as the Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change in Jamaica, Pearnel Charles Jr.; Director of the FAO Forestry Division, Mette Wilkie; FAO Representative for Jamaica, Crispim Moreira and Alternate Regional Representative, Eve Crowley.