WHY WE NEED TO ACT
Globally, over a billion rural people depend on forest resources for all or part of their livelihoods. Yet a growing global population, with greater income and changing diets, is increasing demand for more food, animal feed, fuel, wood products, and fiber. By 2030, the world may need to produce 50 percent more food than today. This is driving deforestation as land is cleared for agriculture, causing conflict with forest communities and releasing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change – which worsens global poverty and hunger, and threatens human health and security.
Fortunately, we do not have to choose between protecting forests and producing food. We can do both because increasing production does not require new land clearing. There are significant opportunities to increase yields on lands that are already under cultivation, and to more efficiently use vast areas of previously degraded or cleared lands. Agricultural practices can also be adapted to use less fertilizer and water.
With the right policies and practices in place, deep cuts in deforestation and associated emissions, improved land use rights for traditional peoples, and greater protection of forests and the many benefits they provide – including clean air, sources of water, food, medicines, and support for people’s livelihoods as well as a wealth of biodiversity – can be achieved while reducing the risk of diverting deforestation to other vulnerable countries or regions.