How forests benefit people and planet
UN Forum on Forests
8-12 May 2023
This month, the sustainable management of the world’s forests will take centre stage at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Officials from UN Member States, the UN system, international and regional organizations, will gather to discuss this critical planetary resource at the UN Forum on Forests on 8-12 May 2023. Here are 5 things you need to know:
1. Forests are essential to life on Earth.
Forests cover 31 per cent of the Earth’s land area, contain over 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and store more carbon than the atmosphere.
2. They support our well-being and livelihood.
More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for subsistence, livelihood, employment and income. Some 2 billion people, roughly 1/3 of the world’s population and 2/3 of households in Africa, still depend on wood fuel for cooking and heating.
3. Healthy forests support healthy people.
Forests and trees provide clean air and water and sustain us regardless of where we live. Zoonotic diseases account for 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases, and they usually occur when natural landscapes, such as forests, are cleared. Restoring forests and planting trees are an essential part of an integrated one health approach for people, species and the planet.
4. Forests continue to be at risk.
Every year, we continue to lose 10 million hectares of forests, an area roughly the size of the Republic of Korea. The world’s forests are at risk from illegal or unsustainable logging, forest fires, pollution, disease, pests, fragmentation and the impacts of climate change, including severe storms and other weather events.
5. Restoring forests holds the key to a sustainable future.
It is estimated that two billion hectares of degraded land worldwide have the potential to be restored. Revitalizing degraded forest is critical for meeting the UN target of increasing global forest area by 3 per cent by 2030. Doing so would also help countries to create new jobs, prevent soil erosion, protect watersheds, mitigate climate change, and safeguard biodiversity.
For more information: UN Forum on Forests
Last updated 1 May 2023