© Adrian Dreßler  |  Source: WRI, UN FAO

Global Forest Economy

A 2020 Report by World Economic concludes that of 163 industry sectors and their supply chains over half of the world’s GDP –  $44 trillion of economic value generation  – is moderately or highly dependent on nature. 

As climate change weakens nature’s resilience, nature loses its capacity to provide its resources and services. Industries highly dependent on nature generate 15% of global GDP ($13 trillion) and face significant disruption due to climate change. Moderately dependent industries generate 37% ($31 trillion) and will not be unaffected by climate change and disasters…

Forests support more than 45 million direct and indirect jobs globally and have a share of more than $1.3 trillion in the world economy. The global timber sector employs 13.2 million people and is worth $600 billion each year.

We should be reminded of some basic facts, too. Forests are a habitat of over 60,000 species of trees, 80% of amphibian species, 75% of bird species, and 68% of mammal species globally. 

If forest fires and depletion of forest health are not halted, current deforestation patterns can spur irreversible environmental and economic damage. According to a report by WWF, environmental degradation can cause a cumulative loss of $9.9 trillion by 2050. 

Until recently the most significant threat to forests was expansion in croplands and in expanding populations looking to find sources of food and fuel and sustain livelihoods. These communities include small and micro farmers who make up 70% of the African population and rely primarily on land and agroforestry to make a living. Forest fires now threaten not only to destroy the forests but the livelihoods of these communities as well.

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