FAO forestry newsroom
The forests of Latin America and the Caribbean are key to the planet’s environmental sustainability and food security
The Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission highlighted the strategic role of the region’s forests for improving life, combatting climate change and halting biodiversity loss.
13 September 2021 – The need to move towards promoting more sustainable and resilient forest management to address the impacts of COVID-19 was one of the conclusions of the 32nd Meeting of the Latin America and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC).
At the meeting, which was held online from 6 to 10 September, with Jamaica as the host country, the LACFC highlighted the importance of forests for improving people’s livelihoods, combatting the impacts of climate change and halting biodiversity loss.
“Forests play a strategic role for the future resilience of food systems. Sustainable forest products increase social, economic and environmental benefits,” said Julio Berdegé, Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
According to FAO, forests provide ecosystem services that are crucial for agriculture, such as regulating river flow, recharging groundwater and protecting soils.
Yet, deforestation and forest degradation are increasing and contributing to the current loss of biodiversity. According to FAO data, South America lost 2.6 million hectares of forests a year during the period 2010–2020, the second highest rate in the world after Africa.
Land tenure and investment in forests
LACFC highlighted the fact that women, youth and indigenous communities need access to land, resources, and investments in forests for their health and well-being, and presented ideas on how to improve such access.
To achieve gender equality in the forest sector, it is essential to improve womens’ access to land, technology, credit and training to allow them to participate in decision-making.
Experts gathered at the meeting also emphasized the importance of the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) as a great opportunity for recovery in the forests of Latin America and the Carribbean.
About the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission
The LACFC is mandated to advise FAO on the most important issues relating to forests in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on the national and regional priorities of the countries.
More than 100 experts from 32 countries of the region attended the meeting as well as 22 organizations. Also in attendance were the Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change in Jamaica, Pearnel Charles Jr.; Director of the FAO Forestry Division, Mette Wilkie; FAO Representative for Jamaica, Crispim Moreira and Alternate Regional Representative, Eve Crowley.