In the last few years, forests have lost their previous prominence on the international agenda. The forestry and conservation community needs to work hard to change that because forests can contribute greatly to meeting the challenges of poverty, disease, access to clean water, biodiversity conservation, climate change and violent conflict. There have been more successes than most policy-makers realize, particularly in the areas of devolving rights over forests to disadvantaged groups and forest restoration. Poverty Reduction Strategies should ensure that poor people maintain access to forest safety nets and provide support for small-scale forest-based enterprises. Biodiversity conservation strategies in developing countries should: 1) reduce incentives for forest destruction, 2) give rights to groups that are less likely to destroy forests; 3) pay people to conserve biodiversity, and 4) focus on landscape mosaics, in addition to supporting protected areas. World leaders should recognize the potential contribution of forests to global peace and take action to realize that potential.
. Proceedings of the XII World Forestry Congress: forests, source of life. Quebec City, Canada Sept. 21 to 28, 2003