The state of our forests

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The Food and Agriculture Administration of the United Nations – FAO for short – has, after two years of research, published a new 139-page report on the world's forests.

Every page I read elicited two conflicting feelings in me.

Anxiety, on the one hand, because almost 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to deforestation – that's more than all of the world's cars, planes and boats combined. Deforestation, largely driven by agriculture, is now the second leading cause of climate change after fossil fuels.

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But I also felt hope. Because the report confirms, with force, that the trees your searches are planting are what the world needs most right now.

The report highlights three reasons why:

  1. "Forests and trees support sustainable agriculture".

That's because trees regulate the local climate, increase soil fertility, provide shade and shelter, and attract pollinators.

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  1. "Water quality, essential to the health and life of both rural and urban populations, is directly related to forest management."

Almost all the projects your searches are supporting plant trees around watersheds or along rivers.

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  1. "The livelihoods and food security of many of the world’s rural poor depend on vibrant forests and trees."

40 percent of the extreme rural poor – 250 million people – live in forest and savannah areas. Protecting and restoring these forests is to provide food, medicine and fuel to those who need it most.

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Trees give us clean air, better water, and fertile soil. They hold more than three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, bolster livelihoods of the world's poorest, and empower rural women. The evidence from the report is clear: "the world’s response to climate change must focus more on forests." Thank you, Ecosians, for leading the way.