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A new FAO report: Forests and trees can help us recover from multiple crises

Monday, July 11 , 2022 493

With the world facing multiple crises including, COVID-19, conflicts, climate crisis and biodiversity loss, our forests can help us recover from their impact, but only if we step up action to unlock their potential. In a key report, the State of the World’s Forests Report 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sets out three pathways for doing that: halting deforestation; restoring degraded land and expanding agroforestry and sustainably using forests and building green value chains.

The pathways are put forward on the understanding that solutions to interrelated planetary crises have immense economic, social and environmental implications that need to be addressed holistically,” Qu adds.

The key arguments of the report are that:

1. Halting deforestation and maintaining forests could avoid emitting around 3.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) per year between 2020 and 2050, including about 14 percent of what is needed up to 2030 to keep planetary warming below 1.5 °C, while safeguarding more than half the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity.

2. Restoring degraded lands and expanding agroforestry – 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land would benefit from restoration, and increasing tree cover could boost agricultural productivity on another 1 billion hectares. Restoring degraded land through afforestation and reforestation could cost-effectively take up to 1.5 GtCO2e per year out of the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050 similar to taking up to 325 million gasoline-powered passenger cars off the road each year.

3. Sustainably using forests and building green value chains would help meet future demand for materials – with global consumption of all natural resources expected to more than double from 92 billion tonnes 2017 to 190 billion tonnes in 2060 – and underpin sustainable economies with greater employment opportunities and more secure livelihoods.

Societies could make better use of forests and trees to simultaneously conserve biodiversity, better provide for human well-being, and generate income, particularly for rural people, the report says, arguing that “there will be no healthy economy without a healthy planet.”

The report cites a wide range of examples from around the globe, both demonstrating the vital importance of forests and trees to people’s livelihoods and pointing to supportive policy initiatives.

You can download the full report using this direct link to the UNECE/Fap website: https://doi.org/10.4060/cb9363en

 

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