- By 2050, global demand for food will require agricultural production to increase by 50 percent.
- At the same time, we must cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly if we are to limit future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
- From 2015 to 2020, deforestation and forest degradation continued to take place at the alarming rate of nearly 10 million hectares per year.
- Deforestation occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical countries and, while trends differ across regions, the expansion of agriculture accounts for 90 percent of this forest loss.
- We need win-win solutions that increase sustainable production, while halting and reversing deforestation.
Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation and biodiversity conservation
- Forest conservation, management and restoration, if implemented sustainably, can offer important nature-based solutions for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and improving people’s livelihoods.
- The vast majority of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is found in forests: they contain more than 60 000 different tree species and provide habitats for 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species, 68 percent of mammal species
and 60 percent of all vascular plants.
- Forests are well recognized for their role in climate change mitigation, but the role of forests and trees in providing multiple benefits that contribute to resilience and adaptation of people and ecosystems must be further supported with targeted
climate policy and action.
The green pathway to growth and sustainability
- Forests benefit us all by offering important ecosystem services and economic opportunities – the forest sector alone provides employment to an estimated 33 million people globally.
- Innovations in the forest sector are vital to enhance resource-use efficiency and increase productivity while decreasing environmental impacts and supporting sustainable forest management.
- Small and medium-scale producers are thought to constitute 80–90 percent of enterprises in the forest sector and can contribute significantly to a resilient economy.
- Enhancing the capacity of small producers and their organizations - currently receiving less than 2 percent of global climate finance – to access finance and develop bankable businesses is key for scaling up investments in sustainable practices.
Forests and human health and well-being: revisiting the connections
- Forests provide numerous goods and services that are crucial to many aspects of human health and wellbeing, from wild foods, medicine, wood fuel and income, to biodiversity conservation, recreational space, climate regulation and watershed protection.
- There are scientifically proven, positive effects of forests and trees on physical, mental and spiritual health of people.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of the links between forest loss and degradation and the emergence of zoonotic diseases. Decreasing this risk calls for protecting and restoring forest ecosystems and landscapes and this requires collaboration by all stakeholders.
Managing and communicating forest information, data and knowledge
- Innovative, accurate and accessible technologies for providing forest information and data are necessary for effective climate action that halts deforestation and restores forest ecosystems.
- Forest education at all levels must be strengthened, from early education of young children to university curricula to sensitize an increasingly urbanized population to the importance of forests for humankind and the planet and to attract new generations of foresters to the sector that are well equipped to address current and future forest-related challenges.
- We need effective forest communication that inspires hope and action, targeting both policymakers and the general public.
Forests without boundaries: enhancing management and cooperation
- Sustainable forest management needs to reach far beyond the forestry sector and should be fully mainstreamed across multi-sectoral institutions and the 2030 Agenda.
- Only by overcoming administrative hurdles and enhancing collaboration can we truly put “forests without boundaries” into practice, and thus fully achieve the potential of forests to be part of the solution to the big challenges of today.