Forests, trees and the eradication of poverty: potential and limitations

The report is a valuable contribution to demonstrate that forest-poverty dynamics are affected by a wide range of social, economic, political and environmental contextual factors.

Smallholder logging activities in the state of Amapá, Brazil. Photo: Reem Hajjar

On Thursday, 15 October 2020, a global assessment report on the role of forests and tree-based systems in poverty alleviation was launched by the IUFRO-led Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty, an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

“This global assessment comes at a critical time. More extreme weather events associated with climate change, widening inequality, and the spread of infectious diseases, among others, are making an already insecure situation worse for the poor. It is therefore essential to review the role of forests in development in general, and in achieving poverty eradication, in particular.” says Hiroto Mitsugi, Assistant Director-General, FAO, and Chair of the CPF.

“Forests and trees are critical to the well-being of many of the world’s poor people who have been able to harness the goods and services they provide to manage and mitigate risk, especially in the face of crises. To secure and improve this important function, we need to adequately protect, manage and restore forests and to make forests and trees more central in policy decision making,” said Professor Daniel C. Miller of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States, who chaired the panel and edited the report together with Stephanie Mansourian and Christoph Wildburger.

“Our global assessment examines a variety of policy and management measures implemented by governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector for their potential and limitations to alleviate poverty. While there is no one size fits all solution, we have found that some of the strongest evidence for poverty reduction comes from agroforestry systems, community forest management, ecotourism, and forest producer organisations, among others,” professor Miller added.

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The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists, which promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. IUFRO unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries, and is a member of ICSU.