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FAO’s State of the World’s Forests 2012 Highlights the Contribution of Forests to a Sustainable Future

FAO23 September 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released the full report on "The State of the World's Forests 2012" (SOFO 2012), which reveals that forest loss and degradation over the past ten years are estimated to have cost the global economy as much as US$4.5 trillion per year.

The report, which is the tenth edition of the State of the World's Forests, highlights that forests cover about 31% of the Earth's terrestrial surface, and that an estimated one billion people around the world depend on forests including the 60 million indigenous peoples who intensively use forests. The report's analysis focuses on forests as energy sources, providers of ecosystem services, and as sources of economic activities.

With regards to the contribution of forests to sustainable development and green growth, the report notes that the value of woodcraft exports has increased from an estimated US$500 million in 2002, to approximately US$1.5 billion in 2010, while over ten million people are currently employed in forest management and conservation. The report notes that this growth could continue if further investments in forest products and industries are efficient, targeted and equitable.

In particular, the report stresses the importance of reforestation and forest restoration, the promotion of small and medium forest enterprises, including considerations of gender equity, good management of wood as an energy source, enhancing communication and coordinating sustainable development. [Publication: The State of the World's Forests 2012 (SOFO 2012)]