Moving forward | Land Portal

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December 2009
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Forests, trees and woodlands cover almost one-third of the Earth’s land area. They are a crucial source of food and income for more than a billion people around the globe. They provide a variety of wood and non-wood products and vital ecosystem services – preventing erosion from wind and water, preserving water quality, shading crops and livestock, absorbing carbon which contributes to countering climate change, and providing habitat for many species of plants and animals, thus helping to conserve the planet’s biological diversity. Forests are also valued as beautiful natural settings for recreation and spiritual refl ection. One of the strategic goals of FAO is the sustainable management of the world’s forests and trees. In the past biennium, as the search for solutions to climate change has reached the top of the global agenda, this goal has become more important than ever. Sustainable energy use and the inseparable linkages between forestry, agricul ture and other land uses have further focused the spotlight on the sector. Reversing deforestation and forest degradation has become an explicit part of the prescription for counteracting climate change and furthering sustainable development. Funding for the sector is increasing, but so are the challenges. The FAO Forestry Department has restructured its work to meet these challenges.

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