UN agency hails progress in saving world’s forests, says more needs to be done
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today hailed “steady and encouraging” progress in sustainable forest management around the world, but called for innovative cooperation between governments, organizations and the private and civil sectors to achieve even greater improvements.
"Despite high rates of deforestation, progress in implementing sustainable forest management around the world has been steady and encouraging,” according to the State of the World's Forests 2003 (SOFO), presented by FAO. “However, improvements are needed to bring about further environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits.”
The report recommends stronger integrated policies and better linkages across sectors, such as agriculture, transportation and trade. It also suggests innovative partnerships among governments, organizations, the private sector and civil society.
SOFO defines sustainable management as meeting present needs for forest goods and services, while ensuring their continued availability in the long term. The concept combines the production of wood and non-wood forest products with the conservation of soil, water and biological diversity, while the socio-economic, cultural and spiritual values of forests are maintained or enhanced.
The report underscores the major roles of forests in the context of climate change as a source of carbon dioxide when they are destroyed or degraded and the role they can play in poverty alleviation. "Forests can help to reduce food insecurity, alleviate poverty, improve the sustainability of agricultural production and enhance the environment in which many impoverished rural people live," it says.
It also analyzes the important role of forests in freshwater resources, the contribution of forests to the conservation of biological diversity, and the state of science and technology in the forest sector, including the widening gap between advanced and least developed countries.
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on loss of forests