FAO’s flagship publication The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO), was presented this week at the opening of the 22nd Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), and shows that a significant proportion of the world population relies on forest products to meet basic needs for energy, shelter and some aspects of primary healthcare – often to a very high degree.
Countries should put more policy emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the vital contributions of forests to livelihoods, food, health and energy, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
However, the report finds that these socioeconomic benefits are often not adequately addressed in forest and other relevant policies, despite their enormous potential to contribute to poverty reduction, rural development and greener economies. The role of forests in food security is also often overlooked, but it is essential.
“This 2014 edition of SOFO focuses on the socioeconomic benefits derived from forests. It is impressive to see how forests contribute to basic needs and rural livelihoods. They are also a carbon sink, and preserve biodiversity,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. “Let me say this clearly: we cannot ensure food security or sustainable development without preserving and using forest resources responsibly,” he added.