Report: State of the World’s Forests 2014 – Enhancing the socioeconomic benefits from forests

This edition of FAO’s State of the World’s Forests report (SOFO 2014) addresses a crucial knowledge gap by bringing together and analysing data about the socioeconomic benefits of forests that has not been systematically examined before.

The first chapter of the report sets out its context and purpose. Although forests provide employment, energy, nutritious foods and a wide range of other goods and ecosystem services, clear evidence of this has been lacking. This evidence is necessary to inform policy decisions regarding forest management and use and to ensure that the socioeconomic benefits from forests are recognized in the post-2015 agenda.

Chapter 2 describes what is known about the socioeconomic benefits from forests. It provides a working definition of these benefits for the purposes of this publication, i.e. “the basic human needs and improvements in quality of life (higher order needs) that are satisfied by the consumption of goods and services from forests and trees or are supported indirectly by income and employment in the forest sector.” The approaches currently available for measuring forests’ socioeconomic benefits are often inadequate, however, due both to methodological limitations and a lack of reliable data.

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