Sustainable Forest Management, Forest Certification, and the MDGs

Forests and trees play a critical role in supporting the livelihoods of people, particularly the world’s poor. Many of these people depend fully or in part on forest resources to meet daily subsistence needs. Sustainable forest management contributes to developing economies in a wide range of ways. It provides income, employment, food security and better housing where it is most needed, particularly for the poor who inhabit forest areas.

Finding ways to balance these human livelihood needs with sustainability of forest resources concerns is the very essence of sustainable forest management. More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests, to varying degrees, for their livelihoods, including some 400 million people who live in, or around, forests. Many threats to forests originate outside the forest sector. Sound forest policy therefore, requires cross-sectoral policy harmonization at the national, regional and global levels.

United Nations Forum on Forests was established for that purpose, to serve as the key intergovernmental body for comprehensive, international forest policy formulation and implementation, and the alarming rate of deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics was the key the driver of international debate on forests. This document is from a symposium on Forest Certification in Developing and Transitioning Societies.

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Pekka Patosaari
United Nations
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