Our future depends on healthy, resilient forest landscapes all around the world. Forests provide critical ecosystem services and livelihoods to millions of people, and safeguarding them has never been more urgent.
From timber, fuel and fibre to stabilizing our climate and water supplies, to providing habitats for more than half of the world's land-based species, the resources and services forests provide are invaluable – but undervalued.
Demand for land, food, energy, and wood products is putting ever-increasing pressure on our forests. In addition to deforestation, forest degradation continues to increase, which reduces the ability of forests to provide critical ecosystem services.
Nearly half of the world's forests are at high risk of degradation, and given that 60 per cent of forests globally are designated for production, the management and protection of these forests is crucial.
It is possible to boost timber production while helping to reverse the loss of biodiversity and protecting peoples' livelihoods. By implementing sustainable forest practices on the ground in forest landscapes, and restoring forests in the right way, we can avoid further deforestation and forest degradation, help combat climate change, improve livelihoods and reduce problems like flooding and erosion. And by strengthening sustainable, transparent timber supply chains, we can mainstream responsible trade worldwide.
WWF has a long history of engaging with forest owners, managers and timber markets on responsible forest management, promoting a new generation of sustainable timber plantations, restoring forest landscapes and supporting forest-based interventions for wildlife, freshwater, climate and people. But despite many successes achieved over the past years, global action is still lagging behind.
Forests Forward is the evolution of the work we have been undertaking through the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) and New Generation Plantations Platform (NGP). At the heart of Forests Forward is a desire to demonstrate the full value of forests, not just for the wood they supply but for the many other benefits they provide.
Through Forests Forward, businesses, communities, governments, financial institutions and civil society organizations with stakes in forests and key landscapes are coming together to act for change.
Working on the ground in forests of different types, Forests Forward brings in science, policy, businesses and communities to identify, support and demonstrate sustainable solutions.
Participants in Forests Forward commit to implementing and investing in sustainable practices in forests, to change their supply chain sourcing, and to help ensure that the world’s forests continue to provide space for nature. They engage in areas such as:
- better silviculture
- reforestation and ecosystem restoration
- biodiversity protection and recovery
- tackling illegality throughout the timber supply chain
- credible forest certification
- fair, inclusive and equitable value chains
In doing so, participants in the Forests Forward programme help ensure that the world’s forests are sustainably used, protected and restored.