The unprecedented devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic could impact global afforestation efforts.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) gave this warning in its 2021 report.
Tagged “Global Forest Goals Report 2021,” the global body said progress was being made in afforestation and restoration.
It however warned that the overall worsening state of our natural environment, including land degradation, pests and invasive species, fires, storms, and droughts were pressurizing forests.
Other factors include increasing rural poverty, unemployment and population growth, combined with greater competition for land with other sectors, including agriculture and urbanization.
“Investing in forests is investing in our future. We must strengthen our global efforts to protect and restore forests and support the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. Only then can we realize our shared vision for a more just, equitable and sustainable world.”Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
A recent study by the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat in UN DESA, found that the pandemic has left forest-dependent populations facing job loss, reduced income, diminished access to markets and information, and women and youth, in particular, are experiencing a contraction in seasonal employment.
Some 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income.
While it is still too early to assess the impact of the pandemic on the world’s forests, there are indications that the pandemic is exacerbating challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.