Editorial: International Day of Forests 2014

The second International Day of Forests (IDF) was celebrated globally on 21 March, bringing to world attention the importance of forests and trees and their importance in people’s lives. FAO and its many partners worked hard to ensure that the Day was used to maximum effect in raising the profile of forests in the international agenda and in reminding all people of their intrinsic value as a source of life.

Read more about how FAO celebrated IDF 2014 around the world:

High-level seminar opened by the FAO Director-General, FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy
Tree planting action: Secretary General, Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia ©Ahmad Karsidi
FAO and Mahusekwa Beekeepers Association members, Zimbabwe

More national and local events around the world.

FAO Forestry news

Multiple benefits from scaling up payment for environmental services

Payments for the environmental services provided by tropical forests can reduce forest degradation and deforestation and reward owners for good stewardship, according to a conference convened by FAO and partners in Costa Rica in April. But such payments need to be scaled up, such as through cross-sectoral policies to internalize the cost of environmental services and expand markets for them.

Read more about the Costa Rica International Forum on payments for environmental services of tropical forests, including the key messages, summary and recommendations in EnglishFrench and Spanish.

FAO to lead new five-year agenda on forests and water

Comprehensive and inclusive scientific and policy discussions on the critical but complex linkages between forests and water have culminated in the endorsement by an international group of experts, who met in Kunming, China, of an agenda to inform and steer future international action. The meeting, a joint initiative of FAO, ICRAF and IUFRO, entrusted FAO to lead implementation of the five-year plan.

Read the FAO Forestry publication Forests and Water: International Momentum and Action, on which the five-year plan is based, and the FOREST EUROPE news release.

SFM: a motor for green economy and poverty reduction in Asia 

SFM can help propel Asia into a new era of green growth and poverty reduction, according to participants at a forum organized by FAO during the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta in May. Keys to a new era of green development include adopting landscape approaches, encouraging smallholders through new models of risk management and entrepreneurship, and strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships.

View the programme of the discussion forum organized by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific on the theme of Equitable development – sustainablelandscapes, green growth and poverty reduction and read the summary of the forum's discussions and conclusions.

Russian Far East forest-sector roadmap enters key phase

The results of the landmark Forest Sector Study of the Russian Far East – a Roadmap for Value-added Investment in the Forest Industry are currently being disseminated by FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.This key phase of the Roadmap’s implementation includes follow-up with high-level policy-makers in three key ministries, national and regional agencies and other Russian Far East authorities. 

Read more about the Forest Sector Study of the Russian Far East – a Roadmap for Value-added Investment in Forest Industry and view the video Russia’s Far East: pathway to sustainable forest industry in English and Russian

EU FAO FLEGT Programme calls for project Concept Notes from VPA countries 

The EU FAO FLEGT Programme has launched a global call for Concept Notes from government institutions, civil society and private-sector organizations in countries engaged in Voluntary Partnership Agreements. The Notes will be accepted from 15 April to 31 May 2014 and grants of up to Euro 100 000 will be available.

View the EU FAO FLEGT website for more information and news.

Global news

Honouring Wangari Maathai: call for nominations for 2014 award

In 2012, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests recognized the achievements of the late Wangari Maathai by establishing an award in her honour.  The 2nd recipient of the US$20,000 prize will be recognized for her/his outstanding contribution to sustainable forest management and to increasing awareness of forests’ multiple roles and benefits at the 24th IUFRO Congress in Utah, USA

Nominations for the 2014 Wangari Maathai award will close on 30 May 2014.  Full details are available award in English, French and Spanish.

International Earth Day 

Earth Day Italia marked the day’s 44th observance with a photo exhibit celebrating “heroes of the planet”, the managers of sustainable food production systems, botanical researchers and eco-carpenters who through their daily actions strive for global change. FAO’s Thomas Hofer said that Earth Day reminds us that the planet is a precious but finite resource “that must be cared for by small daily acts and political commitment at the local, regional and global levels.” 

View the video of Earth Day Italia 2014 and visit the Mountain Partnership Secretariat site.

Collaboration and commitments on sustainable wildlife management

The 3rd meeting of the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) took place in Milan, Italy, in April, with the 13 member organizations agreeing to produce a wildlife glossary on terminology, a document on the economic contribution of sustainable wildlife management (SWM) for local economies and livelihoods, a bushmeat source book and fact sheets on SWM. A wildlife management database, WILDLIFE-LEX, and CPW portal will also be created. View the FAO Forestry CPW webpage.

Upcoming meetings and events

United Nations

Collaborative Partnership on Forestsevents calendar, including:

International Days

New publications and videos


EU FAO FLEGT Programme

Unasylva reader survey

Unasylva is the FAO's journal of forestry and forest industries. FAO wants to ensure that it continues to be an effective medium for articulating the ideas, practicalities and challenges of sustainable forest management. You can help by participating in a short (5–10 minute) Web-based survey. FAO will use your responses to improve Unasylva and increase its impact in the development of effective forest policy and practice. You can find a link to the Unasylva survey here

National Geographic magazine

Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative - feature item and photo gallery. "The Great Green Wall Initiative unites the Sahel-Sahara region in a campaign to fight land degradation and desertification." 


Unasylva: a stroll down memory lane

In this series, we feature extracts from early editions of Unasylva, FAO Forestry’s international journal of forestry and forest industries.

Unasylva 70 (1963)

Priorities in world forestry

... Among major world resources are forests that occupy almost one third of the earth's land surface. They clothe mountain areas and lowlands where rainfall is adequate. They help to build soil and protect it from accelerated erosion. They break the force of the falling raindrops and maintain myriads of channels for infiltration of water into the soil. Thereby flood crests tend to be diminished and ground water flows enhanced. Forests serve as watersheds for the world's major river systems and are the favored cover for municipal and industrial water supplies. They harbor a vast number and variety of wild creatures, many useful to man for food or fur.

Others perform services from which man benefits. Through the small creatures and plants that live on the forest floor the plant litter is broken down and incorporated into the soil, making it increasingly able to support more complex life forms and ecologic formations. The forest as a whole might, in fact, be considered as a giant soil-building machine using from 1 to 2 percent of total solar energy to dissolve and break down rock fragments and to mix these with forest humus.

Trees break the force of winds, thereby protecting soil, plants and animal life. They furnish plant fiber in the form of wood for fuel, construction material, household and office furnishings, industrial raw material for paper, other fiber products and chemicals. And they tend to evoke tranquility of mind in man and often inspire him to great works, of art, literature and philosophy...

Hardy L. Shirley, Dean State University College of Forestry, Syracuse, New York, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Education in Forestry

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last updated:  Saturday, June 21, 2014