Forests provide livelihoods for parts of the worldwide population, often the most vulnerable. The forests also perform vital ecosystem services, including the regulation of the water and carbon cycles and protection of biodiversity, that are essential to food production and food security and nutrition in the long term.

June 27th, the report Sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition was released. The report is authored by the High Level Panel of Experts at the Committee on World Food Security. The report aims at providing an evidence-based, comprehensive analysis of the relationships between forestry and food security and nutrition (FSN). It clarifies the links between sustainable forestry and FSN. It considers how sustainable forestry can address competing demands and contribute to FSN in the long term. Camilla Widmark from CERE is one of many who has been working on this report.

Forests and trees contribute directly and indirectly to food security and nutrition (FSN) in numerous ways. They are a source of wood, energy, food and other products. They provide livelihoods for an important part of the worldwide population, often the most vulnerable. Forests perform vital ecosystem services, including the regulation of the water and carbon cycles and protection of biodiversity, that are essential to food production and FSN in the long term. Sustainable forest management aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations, leaving no one behind.

Forests and trees contribute to FSN through four main channels: direct provision of food; provision of energy, especially for cooking; income generation and employment; and provision of ecosystem services that are essential for FSN, human health and well-being. The key issue here is the multiple contributions of forests and trees to FSN in four dimensions and how they can be optimized, at different spatial and temporal scales, in a context of increasing and competing demands on land, forests and trees (including for wood, food, energy and ecosystem services), as well as of climate change.

One of the recommendations from the report is to support the contributions of forests to improve livelihoods and economies for food security and nutrition. The private sector should develop and promote participatory forest planning and management policies and measures that enable access to nutritionally important forest foods, in particular for forest dependent communities and indigenous peoples. Also integrate low-carbon, renewable energy schemes in forest management plans to achieve multiple benefits, including adequate access to fuel for food preparation, States and the private sector should also invest in social and technical innovations to minimize health risks associated with the use of fuelwood and wood stoves.

Read the full report: Sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition

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