Forests can end world hunger

A new study reveals that forests can play a key role in achieving global food security.

Highlighting the importance of forests may be redundant: they existed long before man’s appearance and they will exist in the next millions of years, as long as we permit it. Forests offer us masses of resources, they host a rich biodiversity, and are indispensible for CO2 reduction.




Forests are essential to achieve food security: without plants we basically couldn’t eat. Most of the foods we eat derive from them, and the remaining products are of animal origin, that means derived from plants, too.


At present, 1 in 9 people are victims of malnutrition worldwide. Forest areas could help fighting this grim situation, as the limits of boosting agricultural production are becoming increasingly clear.


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This is what reveals a new study that seems to be the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date on the relationship among forests, food and nutrition, published by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), non-governmental international network of forest scientists. The new report, presented in New York in occasion of the United Nations Forum on Forests, underlines the need of guaranteeing a safe access to forests products.


The study, named “Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition. A Global Assessment Report”, was carried out by over 60 scientists, coordinated by IUFRO on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).


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“Large-scale crop production is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events,” said Christoph Wildburger, the coordinator of IUFRO’s Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative. “Science shows that tree-based farming can adapt far better to such calamities.”


Forests are nutritionally highly advantageous, study shows. Foods deriving from trees are rich in vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients. For example, the iron content in dried African carob pods is higher than in chicken meat.


Globally one in 6 people directly depend on forests for food and income: the lower people’s income is, the higher the dependence on forests will be.




What keeps people hungry is often not the lack of food, but the lack of access to that food and control over its production,” said Bhaskar Vira, responsible of Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security.

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