Trees and forests are vital in battling hunger and climate change; new report

A new report on the link between forests, food and nutrition highlights the important roles trees play in the dual challenges of ending hunger and addressing climate change. The report was launched during the 11th session of the UN Forum on Forests. It outlines the potential of forests to improve food security and nutrition, and to ensure the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Women selling mangoes in a roadside market in Guinea. Photo: Terry Sunderland

Women selling mangoes in a roadside market in Guinea. Photo: Terry Sunderland

Titled, Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition, the report includes 2 chapters led by authors from the World Agroforestry Centre:

  • Understanding the roles of forests and tree-based systems in food provision – Ramni Jamnadass and Stepha McMullin
  • Public sector, private sector and socio-cultural response options – Henry Neufeldt

A number of other scientists from the Centre have contributed to these and other chapters in the report.

“What the report is trying to get us to focus on is the relatively neglected contribution that forests and trees make to food security and nutrition,” said Bhaskar Vira, Chair of the Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security. “Not necessarily neglected by the people who actually consume them but possibly neglected in some of the policy discourses.”

Vira acknowledges that conventional agriculture will remain the major source of people’s nutrition needs, but forests and tree-based systems have an important complementary role in feeding the world, particularly in supplementing diets and providing nutrients.

The report is an initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and has been compiled by over 60 scientists who are part of the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Food Security.

Read a summary of the report on the UN website: New UN-backed report emphasizes possible contribution of forests to ending hunger

Related story: The value of trees for food and nutrition'

Kate Langford

Kate Langford is a consultant writer with close to 20 years’ experience in communicating natural resource, environmental and land management issues for various government and non-government organizations. She previously worked as Communications Specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and has worked in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

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