Good and bad news for world’s forests

In its biennial State of the World’s Forests 2009 report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) notes that climate change and economic recession present both challenges and opportunities for the world’s nearly four billion hectares of forest.

While a protracted economic slump may increase illegal logging in cash-strapped areas and reduce governments’ commitment to green goals, declining demand worldwide for wood products and commercial forest-cultivated food may also save some forests – in the short term.

But as food and fuel prices increase so will deforestation in South America and Africa  as more people turn to forests for food, feed and biofuel, according to FAO. But while droughts, shrinking water supplies and floods have strained governments’ forest management efforts, renewable wood-based energies like biofuel may provide forests – and their governments – a new lifeline, FAO says.