Expanding agricultural land, a major cause of deforestation, is not the best way to ensure food security, according to a new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“It is not necessary to cut down forests to produce more food,” FAO Secretary-General José Graziano da Silva said at the publication of a report on the state of the world’s forests in 2016, entitled ‘Bridging the gap between forestry and agriculture to improve food security’.
Forests and trees support sustainable agriculture. They stabilize soils and climate, regulate water flows, give shade and shelter, and provide a habitat for pollinators and the natural predators of agricultural pests. They also contribute to the food security of hundreds of millions of people, for whom they are important sources of food, energy and income. Yet, agriculture remains the major driver of deforestation globally, and agricultural, forestry and land policies are often at odds.
State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2016 shows that it is possible to increase agricultural productivity and food security while halting or even reversing deforestation, highlighting the successful efforts of Costa Rica, Chile, the Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Tunisia and Viet Nam. Integrated land-use planning is the key to balancing land uses, underpinned by the right policy instruments to promote both sustainable forests and agriculture.
Source | www.fao.org