Let’s protect the world’s forests to end hunger and poverty, FAO says

Un rapporto della Fao mostra i casi virtuosi di alcuni paesi che sono riusciti a lottare contro la fame salvaguardando al contempo le foreste.

Embracing sustainable agriculture practices and ending deforestation are essential elements in achieveing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community. The State of the World’s Forest report – published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on 18 July – highlights how forest conservation is linked to poverty eradication, marine ecosystems protection, clean energy access, and to the fight against climate change.

foresta australia
Australian forest ©Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

We need large-scale collaboration

“Forests and agriculture have an enormous role in achieving the 2030 Agenda’s historic commitment to rid the world of the twin scourges of poverty and hunger,” said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva. “This urgently requires closer collaboration and partnerships, cross-sectorally and at all scales”.

The paper analyses the current situation: “Net forest area has increased in the temperate domain in recent years, and there has been relatively little recent change in forest area in the boreal and subtropical climatic domains. However, “there was a net forest loss of 7 million hectares per year in tropical countries in 2000–2010 and a net gain in agricultural land of 6 million hectares per year”.

José Graziano da Silva Fao
FAO’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva ©Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

These dynamics are particularly clear in low-income countries, where rural populations have increased. Not a coincidence, agriculture is responsible for about 70 per cent of deforestation in Latin America. Between 2010 and 2015, though, the phenomenon has been partly offset by the natural expansion of forests in abandoned lands (with an increase of 2.2 million hectares a year) and by new saplings (3.1 million).

More food and protected forests

Changes in the use of lands aren’t always monitored properly by different countries. In fact, out of the 35 countries analysed by the FAO, nearly 50 per cent don’t mention such changes in the main documents outlining their policies.

Le fiamme distruggono una parte della foresta amazzonica in Brasile ©Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Fires destroy part of the Brazilian Amazon ©Universal Images Group/Getty Images

The report focuses on 7 case studies: Chile, Costa Rica, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Tunisia and Vietnam. “State of the World’s Forests 2016 shows that some countries have been able to reconcile the aspirations of the different sectors, increasing the agricultural productivity and food security of their populations while also halting and even reversing deforestation,” ends Graziano da Silva. “The challenge today is to encourage such positive trends in countries – especially low-income countries – in which food insecurity is still rife and where forests are still being lost”.


Featured image ©Karen Bleier/Afp/Getty Images

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