World Bank Report Highlights Importance of Africa’s Forests and Woodlands

World Bank10 November 2012: The World Bank has released a special report, "Forests, trees, and woodlands in Africa: an action plan for World Bank engagement," highlighting the importance of Africa's forests for economic growth and development, and as providers of key ecosystem services supporting livelihoods and increased resilience to climate change. 

The report emphasizes that the objectives of World Bank investments in forests and woodlands in Africa are to create jobs, improve competitiveness, and build resilience and reduce vulnerability. It recognizes the diversity of forests in Africa, ranging from dry woodlands in the Sahel Region to the tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin.

The report highlights the diverse uses of forests and forest resources, which make key contributions to livelihoods such as agro-forestry in Southern Africa and ecotourism in Eastern Africa. It concludes that many of the uses of forests, trees and woodlands in Africa fall outside the traditional forest industries and, as such, require cross-sector responses.

Although the report stresses sub-regional differences in forests and forest management challenges and opportunities, a number of common action areas are highlighted, including: the development of sustainable wood-based energy markets; the restoration of degraded forests and woodlands; the development of timber plantations; improved governance of domestic timber industries; enhanced protected area management; improved forest sale management and additional investments in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+).

Finally, the report emphasizes the need for improved information and knowledge management related to forests, trees and woodlands, as well as improved governance, transparency and stakeholder participation. [World Bank Press Release] [Publication: Forests, trees, and woodlands in Africa: an action plan for World Bank engagement]