Forests are globally important in regulating climate and locally important in sustaining communities and supporting biodiversity. But they, and the people who depend on them, are under increasing pressure.

IUCN's role in forests

We work with our State and civil society members and partners to build thriving and productive landscapes, to advance the rights and interests of forest communities, to engage investors, and to implement effective forest and land-use policies.

We carry out projects across the globe, achieving multiple objectives:

  • Equipping decision-makers with information and analysis;
  • Designing and advancing policies and initiatives at local, national and global levels;
  • Inspiring political commitments to initiatives like the Bonn Challenge;
  • Developing tools and methodologies, such as the Restoration Opportunities  Assessment Methodology (ROAM);
  • Strengthening the capacity of our partners through learning exchanges and training courses;
  • Embedding community and individual needs and rights into resource management decision making;
  • Unlocking financing for sustainable forest landscapes;
  • Helping meet national sustainable development plans and international goals on climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation; and
  • Creating spaces for cross-sector dialogues to link the public and private sectors and civil society.

500 million

hectares show potential for forest landscape restoration

up to 70%

more CO2 sequestered by primary forests than degraded forests

2.4 billion

people depend on forests and wood for energy

Why engage with  IUCN's forest work?

  • As an intergovernmental organisation, with State and non-State Members, we are uniquely able to offer forest and land-use solutions from the concept stage through to knowledge and data generation, and from policy and decision making at all levels to results on the ground.
  • With an established presence for 70 years in all regions of the world, including over 50 countries with forest programme activities, we support long-term transformative change.
  • We are an Implementing Agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and an Accredited Entity under the Global Climate Fund (GCF).
  • As the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, we forge and support effective partnerships, including leading the Secretariat for the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and Secretariat for the Bonn Challenge.
  • We produce and serve as a trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

Forests in policy, case studies and more

Increasing ambition on NDCs through FLR

While countries have broadly recognised the role of forests and land-based action in climate change mitigation and adaptation in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), this ambition is often not fully reflected in the targets they set. As governments review their NDCs under the Paris Agreement, IUCN helps countries realise opportunities to increase their ambition through forest landscape restoration (FLR).

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Not all forests are equal - A story map

Primary forests including intact forest landscapes (PF-IFL) are more important for us to preserve than other forests. Let that sink in. See this story map to explore the issues around PF-IFL, learn through case studies from forests across the world, and understand what you can do to help,

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Forests and climate change

Halting the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration have the potential to contribute over one-third of the total climate change mitigation that scientists say is required by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Other benefits in support of both people and nature are considerable:

  • Globally, 1.6 billion people (nearly 25% of the world’s population) rely on forests for their livelihoods, many of whom are the world’s poorest.
  • Forests provide US$ 75–100 billion per year in goods and services such as clean water and healthy soils
  • Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity
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The Bonn Challenge

The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million by 2030. The 2020 target was launched at a high-level event in Bonn in 2011 organised by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and was later endorsed and extended to 2030 by the New York Declaration on Forests of the 2014 UN Climate Summit. To date, 74 governments, private associations and companies have pledged over 210 million hectares to the Challenge.


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