The role of forest ecosystem services to support the green recovery

  • 02/08/2023
  • FAO

Forests are an important component of natural capital and deliver a broad range of ecosystem services that underpin human well-being. The extent and condition of forests in many parts of the world, however, have declined dramatically during the preceding decades due to unsustainable harvesting of timber, forest fires, urbanization, and conversion to agriculture. At the same time the acknowledged importance of forest ecosystem services (FES) continues to grow, particularly the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This paper is a background document developed for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report on The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2022. It reflects the results of a collaboration between FAO and the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) to update the Ecosystem Services Valuation Database (ESVD). The compilation of systematically reviewed and standardized economic values of FES consolidated in the ESVD includes value estimates for all FES in nine forest ecosystem types and mangroves as per The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) classifications. This paper offers an improved understanding of the role of forests in sustainable development, and highlights the potential of forests to provide a pathway towards greater resilience and a green recovery.