FAO Releases Report on the State of Mediterranean Forests

FAO21 March 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report, titled “State of Mediterranean Forests 2013,” which details the social and environmental changes affecting forests in the Mediterranean region, as well as the contributions that forests make to agriculture, water, energy, tourism and other economic sectors.

The report pays special attention to the vulnerability of Mediterranean forests to global changes such as climate change, as well as to changes in regional demographics and lifestyles. The publication highlights for instance, the relationships between the depopulation of some areas and increased forest fires; and population growth in other areas and increased deforestation. Themes addressed regarding forests and climate change include: biodiversity and genetic resources; adaptive management and restoration; and forest fire prevention.

The report highlights forest fires, insect pests, diseases and other disturbances as specific risks to forests. It also reviews the goods and services provided by forests including: wood and non-wood forest products; environmental services; and social services. Other sections of the report focus on urban and peri-urban forestry; and legal, policy and institutional frameworks in the region.

The report also notes the urgent need for better information and tools to monitor and communicate forest changes to stakeholders across the region. In recognition of this gap, the FAO will issue follow-up reports on the state of Mediterranean forests every five years.

The report was released during the Third Mediterranean Forest Week, held in Tlemcen, Algeria from 17-21 March 2013, in parallel with the First International Day of Forests. More than 20 scientific and technical institutions and non-governmental organizations contributed to the report, which was coordinated by FAO and Plan Bleu, the main support center of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development. [FAO Press Release] [Publication: State of Mediterranean Forests 2013] [IISD RS story on the First International Day of Forests]