Terres et eaux

International Day of Forests 2016

Celebrations at FAO Headquarters highlighted linkages between Forests and Water

On Monday 21 March at FAO HQ in Rome, a special celebration took place in recognition of the International Day of Forests on the Theme of ‘Forests and Water’. During the event the Land and Water Division shared some examples of ‘Forests and Water in Practice’. 

View a selection of 
photos from the event


The Rio Rural Development Programme, which was presented, is a watershed management project that fosters changes in rural production processes within a framework of market-driven agricultural development. Its focus in on sustainable intensification of smallholder farming, adding value and improving market linkages, as an incentive for forest and water conservation.

Helping to undo unsustainable patterns of the past 

In the northern parts of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, past rural policies gave priority to mono-cropping of coffee and sugar cane, as well as extensive cattle raising. The associated deforestation and unsustainable production systems lead to soil degradation and depletion of water resources.

However, since 2006, the Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat of Agriculture including its State and Federal partners, and in partnership with the World Bank, GEF and FAO, has been working to reverse this pattern by providing long term support to small family farmers to transition to eco-friendly productive systems. 

Increasing productivity, as an investment in the environment

The Rio Rural strategy for long-term sustainability of farmers´ agro-ecosystems is to ensure that every farming technology upgrade is jointly adopted with a conservation practice, so farmers are able to raise productivity while improving environment quality. Farmers who adopt rotational grazing systems with Rio Rural's support also agree to release part of their lands to forest restoration, to protect springs and riparian strips.

Activities directly related to water protection are partly funded by water supply authorities, at local, state and federal levels. Rio Rural offers technical support and financial incentives to income generation activities and watershed management committees invest earmarked shares of water fees directly in the conservation practices.