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  • Study links sustainable forestry and food security

    2017 - 07.03

    A new report has outlined the crucial links between forestry and food security and nutrition.

    'Sustainable Forestry and Food Security and Nutrition', a study commissioned by the Committee on World Food Security, found that forest conservation is not only important for safeguarding biodiversity and the environment, but also for maintaining the diversity of diets and aiding the nutrition of communities worldwide.

    A team of experts took two years to complete the report which provides comprehensive global analysis on sustainable forestry and nutrition as well as the trade-offs between this interplay and pressures from market demands.

    Terry Sunderland, who led the research, said: “What our research found is that people living in proximity to forests and tree-based landscapes have better diets than their compatriots, regardless of poverty,” says Sunderland. “If we’re serious about global food security, we can’t ignore the role of forests and trees in direct provisioning for both foodstuffs as well as ecosystem services.”

    The report will be unveiled at various global conferences and summits this year, and it's hoped the findings will lead to efforts to promote forests as food sources and expose communities to the importance of naturally diverse diets. In recent years, there's been a shift to packaged and processed food products, as well as a trend of addressing food security issues by growing more simple carbohydrates.

    “By 2050, there will be an estimated nine billion people in the world,” says Sunderland. “In response to the growth in global population and incomes and to the evolution of diets, a continuation of recent trends would imply that global agricultural production in 2050 to be significantly higher than present. However, with the findings of this report we would hope such expansion would take into account the critical role of forests and trees for food security and nutrition.”

    The goal of this study will be to increase collaboration across sectors to address this issue and improve governance by encouraging communities to work together.

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