Policy Support and Governance Gateway

/ Technical brief

Climate change for forest policy-makers. An approach for integrating climate change into national forest policy in support of sustainable forest management – Version 2.0

The critical role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation is now widely recognized. Forests contribute significantly to climate change mitigation through their carbon sink and carbon storage functions. They play an essential role in reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing adaptation of people and ecosystems to climate change and climate variability, the negative impacts of which are becoming increasingly evident in many parts of the world. 

In many countries climate change issues have not been fully addressed in national forest policies, forestry mitigation and adaptation needs at national level have not been thoroughly considered in national climate change strategies, and cross-sectoral dimensions of climate change impacts and response measures have not been fully appreciated. This publication seeks to provide a practical approach to the process of integrating climate change into national forest programmes. The aim is to assist senior officials in government administrations and the representatives of other stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector, prepare the forest sector for the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change. This document complements a set of guidelines prepared by FAO in 2013 to support forest managers incorporate climate change considerations into forest management plans and practices.