Around 80% of the earth's land area is not formally protected, consisting of 'multi-layered' forested landscapes that support people, biodiversity, agricultural activity and industry. Forests have a value for all these groups, locally and globally. It is vital that forest management considers the multiple perspectives and competing demands on all levels.

Forests provide for the world  

  • Over 40% of the world’s oxygen is produced by rainforests. 
  • Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity
  • The livelihoods of 1.6 billion people depend on forests
  • More than a quarter of modern medicines, worth an estimated US$ 108 billion a year, originate from tropical forest plants.  
  • The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.

IUCN's role

Working with communities, government agencies, NGOs and businesses, IUCN’s Global Forest and Climate Change Programme (GFCCP) supports the development of locally-driven, sustainable measures that will improve forest management in several ways:

Combatting the rate of deforestation and forest degradation helps conserve the benefits that people and societies get from forests, including forest carbon stocks and livelihoods. IUCN does this by accelerating action that puts priority attention on areas of high biodiversity value and of cultural significance, such as primary forests and heritage sites.

Restoring forest landscapes helps enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation. Under the Bonn Challenge, IUCN supports national and subnational decision makers in reaching the global goal of positioning 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Enabling rights-based land use ensures community involvement in land-use outcomes. IUCN produces results on the ground through partners and projects worldwide to help strengthen community control over forests, alleviate poverty, empower women and men, enhance biodiversity, and sustainably manage forests.

Unlocking forest benefits is key to a sustainable and equitable supply of forest goods and services. IUCN builds capacity for implementing restoration, engaging the private sector and striving to make sure benefits – such as those from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) – are equitably shared with local landowners and forest communities.

IUCN's forest team focuses on these interlinked issues, with projects ranging from setting goals and generating new knowledge, to reinforcing enabling conditions and unblocking obstacles, through to implementation on the ground.

Great lakes, Kigali

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