Forests

Forests, representing an integral part of the planet's biosphere, play a significant role in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They function as extensive carbon sinks, absorbing greenhouse gases and contributing to SDG 13 (Climate Action), and they provide a wealth of biodiversity, aligning with SDG 15 (Life on Land).

Forests are indispensable in fostering clean air and water, acting as natural filters, thus contributing to SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). They are also a vital source of food, medicine, and raw materials for billions of people, directly supporting SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Indigenous and local communities are often dependent on forests, tying in with SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

The responsible management of forests promotes SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and also creates opportunities for SDG 4 (Quality Education), with forest-based learning enhancing environmental literacy. Lastly, forests serve as potent buffers against natural disasters, fostering resilience and adaptation in the face of changing climate conditions, thereby contributing to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). As custodians of biodiversity and vital ecosystems, forests are fundamental to the holistic accomplishment of the SDGs. They embody the interconnectedness of these goals, demonstrating how progress in one area can stimulate advancements in another.

Understanding this interrelation and harnessing it for sustainable development policies is a cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By maintaining and restoring forest ecosystems, we are not just preserving landscapes; we are making a commitment to the sustainability of our planet and future generations.

World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on June 5th, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue. In 2020, the theme is biodiversity, a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia, to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist.

Most of the terrestrial world is experiencing high rates of land conversion despite growth of the global protected area (PA) network. There is a need to assess whether the current global protection targets are achievable across all major ecosystem types and to identify those that need urgent protection. Using recent rates of habitat conversion and protection and the latest terrestrial ecoregion map, we show that if the same approach to PA establishment that has been undertaken over the past three decades continues, 558 of 748 ecoregions (ca.
Elsevier,

Environmental Science and Policy, Volume 106, April 2020

The Paris Agreement to keep global temperature increase to well-below 2 °C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C requires to formulate ambitious climate-change mitigation scenarios to reduce CO2 emissions and to enhance carbon sequestration. These scenarios likely require significant land-use change. Failing to mitigate climate change will result in an unprecedented warming with significant biodiversity loss. The mitigation potential on land is high. However, how land-based mitigation options potentially affect biodiversity is poorly understood.

In the face of the growing challenges brought about by human activities, effective planning and decision-making in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, restoration, and sustainable development are urgently needed. Ecological models can play a key role in supporting this need and helping to safeguard the natural assets that underpin human wellbeing and support life on land and below water (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; SDG 15 & 14).
The natural world has multiple, sometimes conflicting, sometimes synergistic, values to society when viewed through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Spatial mapping of nature's contributions to the SDGs has the potential to support the implementation of SDG strategies through sustainable land management and conservation of ecosystem services. Such mapping requires a range of spatial data.
This book chapter advances SDG 15 by presenting the major positive and negative attributes of wood before moving onto a review of the field of biodeterioration and its relation to its origins from Forest Pathology. The roles of various researchers in understanding the nature of deterioration are reviewed to provide context then common terminology related to degradation is reviewed.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 15.1.1 proposes to quantify “Forest area as a proportion of total land area” in order to achieve SDG target 15.1. While area under forest cover can provide useful information regarding discrete changes in forest cover, it does not provide any insight on subtle changes within the broad vegetation class, e.g. forest degradation. Continental or national-level studies, mostly utilizing coarse-scale satellite data, are likely to fail in capturing these changes due to the fine spatial and long temporal characteristics of forest degradation.
In this study, we use a new type of satellite data looking at vegetation water and photosynthesis to compare the success of different reforestation methods, using China's Three-North Shelterbelt Program as a case study.
A new threat now confronts the Amazon in the form of a massive infrastructure program, the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, or IIRSA. This article presents results of a projection analysis showing that IIRSA could push the Amazonian forest past a “tipping point,” replacing it with tropical savanna. Such an event would degrade biodiversity, reduce carbon storage, and harm continental agriculture, dependent on moisture transport from forest-based rainfall recycling.
Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in natural environments requires careful management choices. However, common methods of evaluating the impact of conservation interventions can have contextual shortcomings. Here, we make a call for counterfactual thinking—asking the question “what would have happened in the absence of an intervention?”—with the support of rigorous evaluation approaches and more thoughtful consideration of human dimensions and behavior.

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