Forests for food security, nutrition and human health
Worldwide, between 720 and 811 million people faced hunger in 2020. With the world population projected to exceed nine billion people by 2050, global agricultural output must expand by an estimated 60 percent to meet global food needs.
©Adi WiratmoYet, in many places, deforestation triggered by escalating demand for food, fibre and fuel is degrading ecosystems, diminishing water availability and limiting the collection of fuelwood - all of which reduce food security, especially for the poor.
Natural forests are critical for the survival of forest-dwellers, including many indigenous peoples, and they help deliver clean water to agricultural lands by protecting catchments.
Video: Forests for food security and nutritionFarmers increase food security by retaining trees on agricultural land, by encouraging natural regeneration and by planting trees and other forest plants. For most of the year, herders in arid and semi-arid lands depend on trees as a source of fodder for their livestock.
Forests, trees and agroforestry systems contribute to food security and nutrition in many ways, but such contributions are usually poorly reflected in national development and food security strategies. Coupled with poor coordination between sectors, the net result is that forests are mostly left out of policy decisions related to food security and nutrition.
Sooyeon Laura Jin