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The impacts of COVID-19 on the forest sector

A Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FOA) paper highlights some of the identified and perceived impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on development aspects interconnected with the forest sector, with a particular emphasis on the impacts on the production and trade of forest products. Source: Timberbiz

It proposes a series of recommendations as a basis for policy development in the aftermath of the crisis and highlights potential opportunities to leverage the progress achieved so far, to ensure that decades of advances are not reversed.

Although the forest sector is traditionally seen as more resilient (harvesting cycles are longer than other commodities), the multi-faceted contribution of the sector to broader development targets bears testament to the central role forests will play in social and economic recovery in the aftermath of the crisis.

Forest products, including non-wood forest products continue to support livelihoods throughout the crisis while delivering essential items, such as hygiene and sanitary products, biomass for heating, ethanol for sanitizer, respirator paper and packaging for parcels.

The international community must pay due attention to the role that sustainable management, use and conservation of forests play in securing livelihoods, ensuring that the rights of vulnerable communities are upheld, and that progress towards achieving climate change and sustainable development targets is not reversed.

The negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the production and trade of forest products will put important livelihoods and industries at risk, particularly forest-based industries that have achieved progress in providing sustainable products.

Maintaining momentum on halting deforestation and forest degradation and on restoring damaged ecosystems will be crucial to improving the climate resilience of ecosystems, reducing emissions from deforestation and enhancing rural livelihoods.

Reinforcing efforts for more sustainable production and trade of forest products, including by communities and producer organizations, is vital to building on progress made towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Download the paper FOA post covid.