Globally, there are more than a billion people who rely on forest for their consumption and income directly and indirectly. Forest becomes a safety-net during times of food and income insecurity, particularly for the rural communities, although 30-60% of global food production comes from diverse smallholder agricultural systems in complex landscapes. Furthermore, the 75% of global population relies on the biodiversity of forests for its primary health care.

Forest provides both provisioning and non-provisioning ecosystem services to the four pillars of availability, access, utilization and stability. In provisioning service, forest food only supplies 0.6% of global food energy but contributes greatly to the diversity and quality of human dietary with bushmeat, fish and insect. As for wood fuel, it supplies 6% of global primary energy. It is used to cook and sterilize water by boiling. Forest also generates income for around USD 606 billion from formal forest sector while the informal one adds USD 730 billion for non-wood forest products (NWFPs) collection. The non-provisioning ecosystem services of the forest are essential for agriculture and food security. It regulates water quality and quantity, supports soil formation, circulates nutrient, enables pollination and pest control and contributes to biodiversity.

Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition

Therefore, it is vital to understand the landscape configuration of sustainable forestry and agriculture that able to maximise the provision of these goods and services. Such enabling conditions might be achieved by developing appropriate management plans, promoting an integrated landscape approach, ensuring effective participation of relevant stakeholders in formulating policies and adopting a rights-based approach. Specifically, the role of sustainable forest management in global food security and nutrition could be reinforced by the following actions:

  • Provide secure land, forest tenure and equitable access to resources.
  • Recognize and integrate forest contribution to forest policies.
  • Improve the alignment of the policies across other sectors.
  • Increase access of smallholders to training, credit, technology, extension service and insurance.
  • Integrate gender equality in every aspect of policies and investment strategies.
  • Strengthen the collection and timely dissemination of relevant data to policy-making.


Source: Video presentation of Terry Sunderland during CIFOR’s Discussion: Enhancing food system resilience: What roles can forests, trees and agroforestry play? Bogor, 12 February 2019