Forest health

Abiotic and biotic disturbances have major impacts on the health and vitality of the world’s forests and can result in substantial economic and environmental losses. They can have adverse effects on tree growth and survival, yield and quality of wood and non-wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation and scenic and cultural values. Global climate change is exacerbating these impacts and there is still major uncertainty about the interactions between disturbance, climate change and forests.

Please browse our website to find more information on global forest health issues and how FAO is working to address them. 

Hot topics

Join the Dgroup on Forest Health and Invasive Species (FISnet)!

FAO forest health and protection team has launched a platform for discussion to enable easy interaction across country and regional boundaries and between researchers, practitioners, administrators and others working with or interested in forest pests and their management.
If you are interested in forest health, integrated pest management or you just want to share experiences and/or concerns on the topic, this is the place to be. Click here to register and join the community!

Regional Forest Invasive Species Networks

FAO has helped establish regional networks dedicated to the issue of forest pests, primarily forest invasive species, and the forest sector. These networks aim to facilitate the exchange of information and the mobilization of resources, raise regional awareness, and act as a link between and among experts, institutions, networks and other stakeholders concerned with forest invasive species.
Click here to know more about each regional network.

News and events

Updating guidance on forest health and phytosanitary measures

Dendroctonus micans (ph. Gilles San Martin) With increasing global trade, new threats to forest health emerge due to the increased risk and frequency of trade-driven international pest movement. In the last decade, several pests have been introduced into other countries, continents and regions through international trade, and these have contributed to the international recognition of the importance of phytosanitary measures.

FAO, using an integrated approach to manage forest health problems, produced the Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry. The Guide provides easy to understand information about everything one should know to help protect forests from pests including International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) and how they apply to forestry.

ISPMs provide guidance that is broadly applicable for forest health, monitoring, the safe transfer of germplasm, and trade in trees and forest products. The Guide interprets the standards relevant to international forestry pest risks into the language and framework of forest health, outlining how generic principles and measures, such as pest risk analysis and surveillance, can be applied by forest health agencies and forest managers at all levels. It focusses on the best practices that can be implemented in forestry activities to better support the goals of ISPMs.

The FAO Forestry Department has embarked on a project to amend the Guide, originally published in 2011. At the time of publishing, there were 34 adopted ISPMs. Currently there are 44 ISPMs (as of October 2021), many of which are directly relevant to the forest sector. In addition to new ISPMs, many updates and revisions to existing standards have been made in the last decade.

Ensuring that those people responsible for managing forests and forest health have current, relevant information and clear guidance for effective implementation is best practice to ensure good forest management, minimize pest spread, and facilitate safe trade. 

The project will build upon the existing Guide, incorporating new advancements in forestry practices, and new information on ISPMs where applicable and relevant to the forest sector. It will focus on practical activities in the forest sector that help support the goals of the standards. 

An updated draft of the Guide is underway and will be reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders before finalization.

last updated:  Thursday, November 18, 2021