International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Priorities for Rio+20

Section 1: Critical importance of forests for sustainable development Forests are of critical importance for sustainable development. Forests cover about 30% of the world’s land surface, around 4 billion hectares, and contain the majority of the world’s terrestrial species, making forests the most diverse land ecosystem on earth (e.g. 60% of all higher plants are found in rainforests). At the same time, about 1.6 billion people directly depend on forests and trees for their livelihoods while society at large indirectly benefits from a wide array of forest goods and services.

Section 2: Transition to a Green Economy (i.e. Theme 1 of the Rio+20 Conference)
Managing forests on a sustainable basis is therefore indispensable for the protection of life as we know it. Well-managed forests contribute to material welfare and livelihoods (e.g. innovative forest products, freshwater), security, socio-ecological resilience (e.g. climate change adaptation and mitigation), health (e.g. medicinal plants, recreation), freedom of choice and actions.

Section 3: Sustainable Development related Institutions (i.e. Theme 2 of the Rio+20 Conference)
Sustainable forest management on the ground requires effective forest governance across various economic and societal sectors. There is clear evidence from research that new institutional arrangements are needed in order to strengthen policy learning and problem solving among diverse stakeholders (i.e. policy makers, practitioners, scientists, local communities and indigenous peoples, and the civil society).

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