FAO forestry newsroom
FAO launches policy brief on COVID-19 impacts to wood value chains
Rome, 16 November 2020 – Wood value chains have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic but the side effects of the crisis have not all been negative for the sector, according to a new FAO policy brief.
Risks and opportunities
Among the negative effects of COVID-19 on wood value chains were the temporary closure of commercial outlets and reduction of salaries, impacting livelihoods. Respondents were also concerned about the risks to forest governance, including monitoring and enforcement, illegality and tenure rights, as well as decreased financial resources to implement sustainable forest management.
However, respondents believed that response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have some positive effects on the sustainability of the sector, such improved health and safety standards along wood value chains, and adoption of digital technologies in recovery strategies.
“The wood sector may emerge from the crisis with higher social and operational standards and social measures,” the brief states.
Building back better
The brief suggests a series of policy recommendations to address the vulnerabilities of wood value chains and build on emerging opportunities to reduce poverty and increase sustainable forestry. These include making wood value chains part of recovery strategies and measures and promoting the trade and consumption of legal and sustainable wood products. The brief also recommends supporting smallholders, communities and small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) in value chains by providing adequate finance as well as incentives for increased organization, including horizontal and vertical integration.