New FAO report profiles how sustainable forestry can help meet development goals.

Foresters in Vietnam use an ultrasound device to measure trees.

18 June 2012, Rome/Rio de Janeiro - The world's forests have a major role to play in the transition to a new, greener economy, a theme being discussed at the Rio+20 Conference. But to spark that shift, governments must enact programs and policies aimed at both unlocking the potential of forests and ensuring that they are sustainably managed, FAO said today.

In a new report, The State of the World's Forests 2012 (SOFO 2012), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization makes the case that better and more sustainable use of forestry resources can make a significant contribution to meeting many of the core challenges being discussed in Rio, including reducing poverty and hunger, minimizing the impacts of climate change, and creating alternative and more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy for human use.

The report will be presented today during an event at the Rio+20 Conference organized by FAO and its partners, Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association (Bracelpa) and the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA).

"Forests and trees on farms are a direct source of food, energy, and cash income for more than a billion of the world's poorest people," said FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales. "At the same time, forests trap carbon and mitigate climate change, maintain water and soil health, and prevent desertification. The sustainable management of forests offers multiple benefits -- with the right programs and policies, the sector can lead the way towards more sustainable, greener economies."

"Brazil has successful examples of forest plantation management, and its good practices can be disseminated to other developing countries in order to promote the green economy and strengthen the synergies between sustainable development and climate change mitigation. The Rio+20 discussions must be the starting point to strengthen the balance of the triple bottom line.Brazil's pulp and paper industry is prepared to promote innovation in biotechnology and sequestration of forest carbon that can support a sustainable expansion of triple bottom line activities. This means social inclusion and protection of the environment", added Elizabeth de Carvalhaes, Bracelpa's executive president.

"The global forest products industry is at the forefront of forest conservation efforts," said Donna Harman, President of ICFPA. "Through sustainable forest management practices, our industry not only produces a sustained annual yield of timber, but also ensures its abundance for future generations. The global forest products industry also contributes to livelihoods and human well-being by employing millions of people around the world and by producing products that provide shelter and increase literacy. The emerging bio-economy can only increase the important role of this industry."

More at http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/149592/icode/

For more information, contact:
George Kourous
Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 53168
(+39) 348 141 6802
george.kourous@fao.org