Forests under pressure

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Forests account for about one-third of the total land area of the world (FAO 2010). Throughout human history, forests have been essential for human well-being and currently contribute to the livelihoods of an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide (World Bank 2004). Forest resources are especially important for the poor, contributing directly to the livelihoods of 90% of those living with less than USD 1/day. Forests contribute to livelihoods by providing subsistence goods and income from the sale of forest products, inputs to agriculture, and income from employment. In addition to tangible wood and non-wood forests products, forest ecosystems provide a range of services at local, regional, and global levels, including flood control, air filtration, soil stabilisation, and climate regulation. Forests also provide habitat for about two-thirds of the world's known terrestrial species. The world's forests store a large amount of carbon and it has been estimated that they account for a large proportion of the world's land-based carbon uptake (Pan et al. 2011).

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