FOREST PEOPLES: Numbers across the world

By providing estimated figures for indigenous and forest peoples’ populations in countries and regions across the globe, this new Forest Peoples Programme report seeks to raise awareness of the existence of peoples who primarily depend on forests for their livelihoods, and to enhance their visibility as key actors and rights-holders in the management and use of forests and forest resources.

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These figures may serve as a useful reference in advocacy for the recognition of forest peoples’ legal and human rights. 


  • 1.6 billion rural people are dependent upon forests to some extent 
  • In developing countries about 1.2 billion people rely on agro-forestry farming systems 
  • 1 billion out of 1.2 billion extreme poor depend on forest resources for all or part of their livelihoods 
  • 240 million people live in predominantly forested ecosystems 
  • 300 - 350 million people are highly dependent on forests and live within or adjacent to dense forests on which they depend for their subsistence and income 
  • 600 million forest users qualify as long-term users 
  • There are an estimated 500 million forest-dependent people of which 200 million are indigenous peoples 


Sources: World Bank 2002; World Bank 2004; World Bank 2008; World Bank 2009a; Rainforest Foundation (n.d.); World Rainforest Movement 2005

Work area: 
Social Policy
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