The world’s Forests: multiple crises call for resolute action

The 26th IUFRO Congress emphasised global responsibility for climate action, urging coordinated efforts to enhance forest resilience, sustainable societies, and a circular bioeconomy, vital for a stable, life-supporting planet.

IUFRO President John Parrotta, USFS, at the 26th IUFRO World Congress. Photo: Henrik Karmhag/SLU
  • Joint efforts and far-sighted decisions are crucial to make the world’s forests more resilient and ensure a sustainable future, the Stockholm Congress Statement stresses.
  • International and interdisciplinary cooperation, fact-based and equitable decision-making, as well as better education and training are among the key factors for ensuring healthy forests and trees and their vital goods and services.
  • Forest-related science and research together with traditional knowledge can form a solid knowledge base for human activities and decisions to bring about positive change.
  • Incoming IUFRO President Daniela Kleinschmit emphasises the importance of enhancing inclusivity, especially regarding young and underrepresented researchers; broadening perspectives on forest-related challenges and strengthening global collaboration.
  • The 27th IUFRO World Congress will take place in 2029 in Nairobi, Kenya, and thus, for the first time in the history of IUFRO on the African continent.

The 26th World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations IUFRO brought together 4,200 participants from over 100 countries in Stockholm from 23 to 29 June 2024. Every five years, the Congress provides a global forum for the exchange of knowledge, perspectives and visions around technical and societal issues of forest-related research, policymaking and management.

The Congress, named Forests and Society towards 2050, focused on five major themes: forest resilience, forest-based bioeconomy, biodiversity and ecosystem services, forests for sustainable societies, as well as innovation and education.

Congress Tree Planting Ceremony, from the left: Fredrik Ingemarsson (Chair of Congress Organizing Committee), student Ulrika Olsson, Göran Ericsson (Dean, Faculty of Forest Sciences, SLU), John Parrotta (IUFRO President), Sandra Axell Katouzi (Stiftelson Skansen and Stockholm University). Photo: Henrik Karmhag/SLU

The Stockholm Congress Statement calls upon everyone to assume responsibility

Climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental pollution and mounting social injustice are among the most severe crises the world is facing today. Tackling these interlinked crises requires resolute and equitable actions and everyone must take responsibility in their own sphere of influence.

“An equitable, healthy and prosperous future for humanity will depend on diverse, productive and resilient forests and associated ecosystems, including sustainable agricultural systems,” says IUFRO President Dr. John Parrotta, US Forest Service. “To realise such a future, immediate and coordinated action is required to effectively deal with the drivers and impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, land degradation, and pollution.” This is a core message of the Stockholm Congress Statement, the outcome document of the Congress.

“The forest science community can be relied upon to provide the solid knowledge base needed by decision-makers at all levels – from individual citizens to governments – to evaluate the benefits, risks and trade-offs related to forest- and other land-based commodity production options, consumption choices and policies across sectors,” Dr. Parrotta emphasises.

Dr. Elena Paoletti of CNR IRET, Italy, and Chair of the Congress Scientific Committee, sums up the call for action, “The Congress urges decision makers, forest managers and business experts to make best use of the knowledge and recommendations of the global science community to: Strengthen forest resilience and climate adaptation; Maintain and enhance the social values of forests for sustainable societies; Expand the role of forests and forest products in a responsible circular bioeconomy; and Transform forest-related sciences for the future. Action at all levels in line with these messages can contribute to maintaining a stable planet that continues to support life and human well-being.

Find the Stockholm Congress Statement (EN/DE/FR/SP)

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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.