SDG 15: Life on land
Sustainable Development Goal
Forests cover 30.7 per cent of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population.
Thirteen million hectares of forest are lost every year, while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.
Even though up to 15% of land is currently under protection, biodiversity is still at risk. By protecting forests, we will also be able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity.
Forests and SDG 15
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Forests are among the most important repositories of biodiversity and their sustainable management is essential not only for conservation, but also for sustaining ecosystem functioning and thereby the continued and healthy provision of ecosystem services as well as meeting an increasing demand for sustainably sourced wood fibre from responsibly managed forests.
Forests are seen as a natural weapon against global warming due to their ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change by increased carbon uptake through afforestation and sustainable forest management, and by their ability to provide fibre as a renewable and sustainably raw material.
Related SDG target (abbreviated)
15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.
15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.
15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.
15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species.
How PEFC contributes to SDG 15
Safeguarding the world’s forests by promoting sustainable forest management is core to PEFC, the world’s leading forest certification system. With more than 300 million hectares (that’s about two-thirds of the total land area of the European Union) of PEFC-certified forests, more than one fifth of the global total supply of wood and wood fibre is PEFC certified.
About one million forest owners globally manage their forest in compliance with our Sustainability Benchmark requirements, which are designed to provide an appropriate balance between the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability.
Developed with active participation of all interested people – from forest owners and industry to NGOs, workers’ unions, local communities, and researchers – our standards maintain and enhance forest health and vitality, their biological diversity and protective functions, and their contribution to combating climate change.
Simultaneously, PEFC also recognizes the important role forests have from a socio-economic point of view, which is specifically relevant in rural areas and for the more than 1.6 billion people who depend on forests for their livelihoods.
The important role of PEFC in safeguarding the world’s forest is globally recognized, with PEFC being selected as one of two official indicators for SDG Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards
- Sustainable Forest Management, PEFC ST 1003