Global Report: Forests Underrated as Allies to Curb Rural Poverty


Poverty is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.

Globally, one in 10 people lives on less than $1.90 per day. If current trends continue, the World Food Programme predicts the number of hungry people will reach 840 million, or one ninth of the world’s population, by 2030.

Poverty eradication has therefore found a place at the top of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” is the first Goal of this Agenda, which is supported by all 193 UN member states. The international community is now stepping up efforts to achieve this goal, especially in response to the severe setback caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The zoonotic nature of the COVID-19 virus has also illustrated the urgency to reduce human pressure on nature.

One way to relieve this pressure and alleviate poverty is to recognize and further optimize the critical role of forests and trees as allies in the fight against poverty. In the long run, losing forests means losing this fight. This is the central finding of a new global assessment report entitled, “Forests, Trees and the Eradication of Poverty: Potential and Limitations.” The report is the product of a two-year investigation by a global panel of experts, chaired by associate professor Daniel C. Miller of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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