IUCN’s forest work focuses on the important role of trees and forests in several ways:
Forest landscape restoration (FLR) helps regain a balance of ecological, social, climatic and economic benefits from forests, trees and other woody plants across multiple land uses. More importantly, FLR takes place through an active process that brings people together to identify and implement appropriate restoration activities ranging from agroforestry to planting native tree species to watershed protection and many more. More than two billion hectares – about half the size of Asia – offer opportunities for FLR, and in turn, economic gains and carbon storage. The Bonn Challenge is one way through which IUCN supports decision-makers in reaching the goal of restoring 150 million hectares of degraded forests by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. IUCN and World Resources Institute (WRI) have also developed the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) as a guide for practitioners and policy-makers to restore life to their forests and plan sustainable land uses.
Slowing the global deforestation rate is focused on the sustainable management and protection of all types of forests within a broader land use context, conserving benefits from forests, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, and enhacing forests' ability to act as “carbon sinks”. IUCN accelerates this action by putting priority attention on areas of high biodiversity value and of cultural significance, such as primary forests and heritage sites. To support processes like Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), IUCN is working with stakeholders all over the world to develop national REDD+ strategies and strengthen support for the pro-poor approach in international REDD+ decision-making and resource allocation; and building connections between local, national and international actors.
Locally controlled forests (LCF) helps ensure that forest-dependent community groups, families, smallholders and indigenous peoples groups have the right to own and make decisions over forests and trees, with access to well governed value-chains, markets and technology. Despite many community-based initiatives at global and local levels, only a tiny fraction of international funding and forest investments are directed at LCF. With forests providing unrecognised values to national economies, and so many people reliant on these resources, the funds allocated to forests should include LCF as a central component. IUCN works with partners and projects – such as ENPI FLEG, FFF, RFGI and more – through local and international processes to identify barriers and enhance investments into LCF; and ultimately, to help strengthen community control over forests, alleviate poverty, empower women and men, enhance biodiversity, and sustainably manage forests.