Germany’s contribution

Managing forests sustainably

Rain forest in Brazil

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), forests cover almost a third of the world’s total land area today. They are home to around 90 per cent of biological diversity on land and provide an important basis for the livelihoods of around 1.6 billion people globally, many of them from the poorest sectors of society. And yet, across the globe 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed as a result of human intervention every year.

Often forest is cleared for agricultural use, which, at least in the short term, yields greater profits than sustainable forestry does. The majority of the produce these areas yield is exported to industrialised countries and large emerging economies such as China and India.

Other causes of deforestation include illegal logging and unresolved land rights which leave vast areas without protection under the law. In many regions of the world rapid population growth is also causing forests to shrink, for instance as a result of urban growth and of the demand for more roads and increased infrastructure.

In over 30 countries and regions, Germany is active at a number of different development policy levels, advocating for the protection and sustainable use of forests.

  • Germany is helping to improve the political and legal conditions and parameters in partner countries as well as supporting good governance. For example, experts are advising the governments of Cameroon, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the goal of better reconciling policy in important areas, such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure, with the imperative of forest conservation. Particular emphasis is placed on involving affected communities and promoting dialogue among important interest groups in the public and private sectors and in civil society.
  • Germany also supports and funds specific approaches for sustainable forestry. For instance, in Indonesia, Viet Nam and Peru, support from Germany is helping to strengthen the management capabilities of our partners. In Brazil, state monitoring facilities are being expanded and knowledge of sustainable forest management is being improved. Placing an appropriate economic value on resources and ecosystem services, which forests have seemingly provided free of charge until now, is an important aspect of our work in Peru and Viet Nam.

In the year 2012 alone, the BMZ began projects for sustainable forest management worth 225 million euros.

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