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About Forest Biodiversity

Tropical, temperate and boreal forests offer a diverse set of habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms. Consequently forests hold the majority of the world’s terrestrial species. However these biologically rich systems are increasingly threatened, largely as a result of human activity.

  • What is Forest Biological Diversity?
    Forest biological diversity is broad term referring to all the life forms found within forested areas and the ecological roles they perform. As such, forest biological diversity encompasses not just trees but the multitude of plants, animals and micro-organisms that inhabit forest areas and their associated genetic diversity. More »

  • What is the Problem?
    In the last 8000 years about 45% of the Earth's original forest cover has disappeared, cleared mostly during the past century. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently estimated that about 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation each year. The annual net loss of forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 7.3 million hectares (equivalent to the net loss of 0.18 percent of the world’s forests). More »

  • Why does it Matter?
    In the past, timber production was regarded as the dominant function of forests. However in recent years this perception has shifted to a more multi-functional and balanced view. Other forest functions and services, such as recreation, health and well-being, biological diversity, maintenance of ecosystem services and the mitigation of climate change, are now recognized as part of the importance of forests and have become integral components of sustainable forest management. Forest biological diversity is increasingly recognized as both a complex and unique element. More »

  • What Needs to be Done?
    The CBD addresses forests directly through the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity (annex to decision VI/22), adopted in 2002 by the Conference of the Parties at its sixth meeting. The forest work programme constitutes a broad set of goals, objectives and activities aimed at the conservation of forest biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable use of the benefits arising from the utilization of forest genetic resources. The programme of work on forest biodiversity consists of three elements: (i) conservation, sustainable use, and benefit-sharing, (ii) institutional and socio-economic enabling environment, (iii) knowledge, assessment, and monitoring. More »

  • What is REDD?
    Reducing and/or preventing deforestation is an important mitigation option as the release of carbon as emissions into the atmosphere is prevented. The topic of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries was first introduced at the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Montreal (December 2005). More »

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme