Tuesday | May 6th     11.30 - 13.00

Forest landscapes for food and biodiversity

This panel discussion explored ways to manage resources for improved nutritional, social, economic and environmental outcomes in areas where farming, forestry and other productive land uses compete with sustainability and biodiversity goals.

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In recent decades, Southeast Asia has strengthened its food security and reduced its levels of poverty. Yet experience shows that increased food production has not led to better health or nutrition, especially for children and other vulnerable groups. The drive to produce more food has in fact driven the expansion of agriculture at the expense of forests.

This forest loss endangers biodiversity, which is essential for all elements within the landscape mosaic, such as farmland, forests and ecosystem services, including those services needed to support food security and livelihoods. Protecting biodiversity requires landscape-based land-use planning. Under this approach, people manage forests, forest margins and agricultural land as a landscape continuum. Landscape-based land-use planning does not simply equate forests with timber or agriculture with food. It takes a more holistic and broader approach that can promote the development of rural economies based on biodiversity.

Participants explored how activities across sectors and scales can be coordinated to reduce undernutrition and malnutrition. Panelists presented and discussed case studies showing how an integrated landscape approach works in practice. These case studies looked at the importance of non-timber forest products for rural economies and opportunities for sustainably managing competing demands for land, especially in areas where agriculture is expanding, e.g. oil palm plantation development.