Forests and all terrestrial ecosystems are critical not only to flora and fauna but also to communities that depend on them, contributing to poverty reduction, economic growth and employment. Healthy forests and terrestrial ecosystems provide critical ecosystem services important to people and economies such as habitat for biodiversity, provision of drinking water, water and climate cycle regulation, erosion prevention, crop pollination, soil fertility, and flood control.
However, deforestation, and forest and land degradation threaten these ecosystem services and the well-being of people that depend on them. Land degradation impacts an estimated 3.2 billion people worldwide, and some 40 percent of the world’s poorest live on land that is classified as degraded. Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23 percent of the global land surface (IPBES 2019).
The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of healthy forests and terrestrial ecosystems. Several studies have shown a link between deforestation and other changes in land use to pathways for zoonotic disease transfer from animals (wild and domesticated) to humans. More than 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases are from zoonotic origin. Clearing of forests for agriculture, extractive industries, urbanization and other land uses leads to the loss or degradation of habitat and brings humans and wildlife into closer contact, increasing the risk of spillover of infectious diseases such as SARS, Ebola and HIV. Better integrated or “one health” approaches to landscape management that consider human, animal and ecosystem health are needed.
Forests and all terrestrial ecosystems can also contribute to building back better by supporting livelihoods for communities and providing much-needed employment opportunities for vulnerable populations. Some of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population live in fragile natural resource environments. In the short term, these communities can receive income support through land rehabilitation and forest work schemes. Landscapes, programs can be scaled up further to create jobs, support livelihoods and market access, food security and long-term resilience through enhanced productivity of local natural resources assets. Such projects support participatory community resource management mechanisms and direct investments in economic activities.
Goods from forests and all terrestrial ecosystems provide an important “hidden harvest” for rural populations, keeping many people out of extreme poverty. For example, about 350 million people who live within or close to dense forests depend on them for their subsistence and income. Forests are an important aspect of rural livelihoods, with rural households living near forested areas deriving as much as 22 percent of their income from forest sources according to the Poverty and Environment Network (PEN). This contribution is greater than that of wage labor, livestock, self-owned businesses or any other category aside from crops.
Deforestation and forest degradation contribute about 12% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The 2019 IPCC special report on Climate Change and Land affirmed that planting forests and protecting existing forests is key to all pathways for limiting global warming to 1.5ºC or well below 2ºC increase. Investment in planting trees and forest conservation is urgently needed as many of the world’s remaining forests are under increasing threat due to agriculture expansion, timber extraction, fuelwood collection and other activities. The IPBES estimates that investment in nature-based solutions could contributes about 37 percent of the climate change mitigation needed by 2030 to keep global temperatures below a 2ºC increase while generating jobs and biodiversity co-benefits.
Last Updated: Jun 23,2022
The World Bank Group supports countries in their efforts to harness the potential of forests and terrestrial ecosystems to reduce poverty, contribute to economic growth, and protect and strengthen the environmental services they provide —locally and globally. To this end, the World Bank brings together actors across economic sectors to implement integrated landscape programs that enhances people’s livelihoods while delivering ecosystem benefits such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and land restoration.
Forest projects approved each year remains steady. In fiscal year 2021, the World Bank approved 17 forest projects with a total net investment of $898 M, compared to 15 forest-related projects in 2016 with a total net investment of $196.3 M.
However, the average net commitment per project has increased to $52.8M per project in 2021, representing a 300% increase from an average of $13 M per project in 2016.
These approved projects are included in the respective fiscal years of the forest active portfolio. In fiscal year 2021, the World Bank’s forest active portfolio consisted of 101 projects and a total net investment on forest-related issues of $4.4 billion dollars, up from 76 projects and a total net investment of $1.9 billion in 2016. Funding from the International Development Association (IDA) represents 55% of the 2021 portfolio, an increase from 32% in 2016.
The Africa region represents 50% of the 2021 active portfolio with a total of 2.2 billion. LCR has the second most forest net commitments at $866 M.
Building its previous Forest Action Plan, the World Bank Group is developing a Forest and Landscape Approach that takes a holistic look at terrestrial landscapes, working across sectors like agriculture, transport and energy to generate positive outcomes for development, biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change mitigation and adaptation on forest and otherterrestrial ecosystems.
PROGREEN, a global partnership for sustainable and resilient landscapes launched in 2019, supports countries’ efforts to improve livelihoods and strengthen investment in management and conservation of forests and all terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, landscape restoration, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Through an integrated landscape approach, PROGREEN helps countries meet their national and global sustainable development goals and commitments, including poverty reduction, in a cost-effective manner at scale.
Last Updated: Jun 23,2022
Between fiscal years 2016 – 2021, nearly 6 million people benefited from projects, including 1.2 million women and 105,000 indigenous peoples, with 835,000 people benefiting financially. Some 992,000 land users adopted sustainable landscape management (SLM) practices, bringing 269 million hectares under such practices. An estimated 76 million hectares gained enhanced biodiversity protection, and 8.9 million hectares outside of protected areas became managed as biodiversity-friendly. Some 638,00 hectares were restored or afforested and 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were reduced or avoided. An estimated 961,000 people gained forest use or ownership rights.
Click here for a more detailed look at the global results.
Beneficiaries in Forest Projects from FY16-21:
Country Specific Results:
In Ethiopia, the World Bank-funded Sustainable Land Management Program (SLMP) has brought 900,000 hectares of land under sustainable management, benefitting some 2.5 million people. The program has contributed to better water access, less soil erosion, higher yields, diversified sources of income and improved food security – resulting in more resilient livelihoods and boosting the country’s human capital. Making the land more productive and conserving soil and water has also improved biodiversity overall. A series of projects will expand these results. The Ethiopia Resilient Landscapes and Livelihoods Projects (I and II) are improving climate resilience, land productivity and carbon storage, and increasing access to diversified livelihood activities in selected rural watersheds. Launched in 2020, the Ethiopia Climate Action Through Landscape Management Program (Program for Results) takes these efforts to even greater scale with the aim of bringing 2.5 million hectares of degraded land under sustainable land management practices and expand access to secure land titles in non-rangeland rural areas across 500 major watersheds. The Oromia Forested Landscape Project brought 118,882 hectares of forest under management plan and afforested more about 9 million hectares of new forest.
These projects and programs are increasingly looking at the role the private sector and sustainable production forestry could play in building resilient rural bio-economies. The Bank’s engagement in Uganda and Rwanda reflect this new agenda.
PROGREEN support is helping to expand the reach of the SLM Program to the forest and agricultural landscape of South-West Ethiopia, an under-served region that has a high potential for implementing a landscape approach while establishing and managing green corridors.
In Brazil, since 2012 the World Bank is supporting the government in better managing and conserving the Cerrado forest through a set of complementary projects that comprise a landscape approach. The Cerrado is the second largest biome in South America, which was being deforested twice as quickly as the Amazon due to land clearing for agriculture and cattle ranching. The Cerrado is a driver of economic growth and important for food security, biodiversity conservation, water regulation and carbon sequestration. Investments underway are addressing drivers of deforestation by clarifying land rights, making agricultural production more sustainable, providing monitoring and information, and building capacity to detect, prevent and fight forest fires and supporting traditional communities to manage their natural areas and resources. Results to date include:
20,025 farmers have been trained been in low carbon emission agricultural practices.
93,844 hectares of agriculture lands are using low carbon emission agricultural practices
313,000 hectares of land are being cultivated where sustainable agricultural practices
2,000 people have been trained to manage forest fires, and
2,000 farmers have received technical assistance for low carbon agriculture practices
190,072 landholdings, totaling about 35.5 million hectares, have been enrolled in the National Rural Environmental cadaster system (SICAR) and as a result are adopting sustainable land management practices
32 Traditional Communities’ Territories, encompassing a total area of 94,897 hectares, were georeferenced, and 2,506 families have registered their land.
In China, the Shandong Ecological Afforestation Project (2010-2016) planted trees on 66,915 hectares of barren mountainous slopes and saline coastal areas, increasing forest cover, reducing soil erosion, and improving the environment and biodiversity. The project has:
Developed and demonstrated effective and scalable afforestation models for environmentally degraded areas.
Generated additional incomes for 26,556 farm households.
Reduced soil erosion by 68% and provided an example for forest-based carbon sequestration.
The results of the project encouraged the government to establish 84,000 hectares of project model plantations on degraded sites outside the project area.
In Mozambique, the forestry sector directly employs 17,000 people and accounts for nearly two percent of GDP. Around 267,000 hectares of forest are lost each year and the World Bank is supporting the government in mobilizing resources to sustainably manage the forest sector through an integrated landscape management portfolio. Through technical assistance, on-the-ground investments, results-based finance, and analytical work, the portfolio is:
Investing in the livelihoods of thousands of small- and medium-size landholders,
Improving the sustainability of timber, charcoal and agricultural production,
Strengthening land rights and land use planning,
Restoring degraded lands,
Reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon stocks,
Tackling wildlife poaching, and
Conserving biodiversity, and
Contributing to disruptive forest technologies to improve law enforcement within and out of protected areas.
In Mexico, where some 60 percent of forests are owned by indigenous and local communities, the World Bank has been supporting the Government with a series of projects that have increased sustainable forest management, forest-related jobs, and the net value of forest goods and services. Under the Forests and Climate Change Project, this effort was extended to all 32 states in Mexico, supporting an additional 1,000 communities and bringing 2 million hectares of forests under sustainable management. This $460 million project, completed in February 2019, tapped multiple sources of forest finance to strengthen community institutions and knowledge of forest management and conservation while also developing alternative sustainable sources of income, including through REDD+. Now, the Strengthening Entrepreneurship in Productive Forest Landscapes Project is building on the project’s successes and ensuring continuity in the areas of community forest management and Payment for Environmental Services (PES). It also supports innovative new approaches, including promoting the integration of productive forest management activities with forest conservation and restoration activities in the same area to increase the economic and environmental benefits of project interventions, and focusing on productivity to enable forest-dependent people and enterprises to more fully reap the benefits of forest landscapes. To date, the project has brought an additional 180,000 hectares of land under integrated landscape management practices and benefited 33,800 people. The project also complements a wider forest-sector agenda, integrating a range of instruments, including technical assistance to Mexico’s Forest Commission and the preparation of an FCPF Carbon Fund Emissions Reduction Program that could potentially leverage up to US$50 million in payments to the country for results linked to avoided deforestation.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to the second-largest swath of rainforests in the world, about 62 percent of the territory is covered by forests that critically contribute to the livelihoods of 40 million people, who are among the world’s poorest. Rapid population growth has increased the demand for agricultural land, fuelwood and charcoal production, and large-scale development, resulting in significant deforestation. Since 2008, the World Bank mobilized $140 million to support reforms and pilot innovations in forest governance, land use planning, and land tenure. Under the Improved Forested Landscape Management Project alone, 17,000 hectares of agroforestry plantations were created; 20,000 hectares were enclosed for natural regeneration; 110,000 people saw an income increase of 18% and more than 6 million tCO2eq emission reductions were generated. Estimates show that scaling up these approaches could enhance rural livelihoods by 300% and increase cash generation by up to $2,200 per household per year while providing more sustainable charcoal and agricultural commodities to the megacity of Kinshasa. The Forest Dependent Community Support Project has been key in supporting the continuous engagement of the DRC civil society and indigenous peoples in forest action.
In Kazakhstan, the Forest Protection and Reforestation Project rehabilitated more than 46,000 hectares of forest degraded by extensive forest fires, installed a new state-of-the-art fire detection system, and established new community-based forest management approaches.
In Senegal, the Sustainable Participatory Energy Management Project (PROGEDE by its French acronym) helped combat Senegal’s rapidly growing demand for household fuels and the associated degradation of forests and the rural environment. Results include:
increased income from forest resources in participating villages from US$18 to $70 million in 5 years;
doubling of forest area under management: Extended community-based sustainable forest management from 400,000 ha to 997,300 ha in 5 years;
increased sustainable wood fuels production from 180,000 to 2,500,000 m3;
reduced deforestation by 74,127 ha and reduced net CO2 emissions in the project area by 3,220,826 t CO2e
positive gender impact, with the emergence of female operators in charcoal production and in the marketing of improved stoves, greater participation of women in decision-making, stronger female leadership in the governance of community organizations, and improved livelihoods.
In Moldova, where the majority of poor communities depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, the Moldova Agriculture Competitiveness Project is increasing the use of sustainable land management practices like forestry shelter belts, which can limit soil erosion and sequester carbon, while contributing to greater returns for farmers.
The World Bank works with a wide range of stakeholders and partners at the country, regional, and global levels. The World Bank places special emphasis on partnerships that can deliver operational support to client countries through coordinated efforts.
PROGREEN, the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes, is a new World Bank Umbrella Program that supports countries’ efforts to improve livelihoods while tackling declining biodiversity, loss of forests, deteriorating land fertility, and increasing risks such as uncontrolled forest fires, which are exacerbated by a changing climate. Through an integrated landscape approach, PROGREEN helps countries meet their national and global sustainable development goals and commitments, including poverty reduction, in a cost-effective manner at scale.
The World Bank is the lead agency of the Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development, also known as the Global Wildlife Program (GWP), a $230 million grant program by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Launched in 2015, the GWP has 37 projects across 32 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean. The program focuses on designing and implementing national strategies to help countries combat illegal wildlife trafficking, secure wildlife habitats, promote wildlife-based economies and improve landscape-level management.
The Amazon Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) Program, is a 113 million impact Program funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with the objective to protect globally significant biodiversity and implement policies to foster sustainable land use and restoration of native vegetation cover in the Amazon regions of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. A second phase is in preparation to include Bolivia, Ecuador, Guayana and Suriname.
The Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration (FOLUR) Impact Program is a $306 million grant program funded by the GEF that seeks to transform the global food system by promoting sustainable, integrated landscapes and efficient commodity value chains. As the lead agency, the World Bank manages the program’s Global Platform. The Platform supports, promotes and scales the work of 27 country projects related to establishing sustainable production landscapes for eight commodities: beef, cocoa, corn, coffee, palm oil, rice, soy, and wheat. The Global Platform benefits from the expertise of five Core Partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, Food and Land Use Coalition, International Finance Corporation, the Good Growth Partnership, and the Global Landscapes Forum.
Through its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, the Bank Group also encourages responsible corporate investments across the forest products supply chain and works to create a more level playing field for legitimate forest-sector enterprises that adopt sustainable forest management practices.
The World Bank is a member of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, a group of 15 international organizations and secretariats with substantial programs on forests that coordinate to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end, in support of the United Nations Forest Forum-UNFF. The World Bnk also works closely with the Global Landscape Forum; the Global Restoration Council; the Global Partnership for Forest and Landscape Restoration; the AFR100and the Tropical Forest Alliance. In addition, the World Bank is a global of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030
The World Bank also participates in the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), a global network of agencies, organizations and initiatives working toward a shared goal of restoring the world’s lost and degraded forests and their surrounding landscapes. GPFLR aims to regain ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes through a landscape approach to forest and landscape restoration.