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The introductory chapter introduces the Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs and briefly presents the process that led to its adoption. It discusses the nature of the SDGs, recognising the great variation in the nature, scope and function of the SDGs and related targets, and drawing attention to the interlinkages among the goals and targets. Forests provide ecosystem services that are crucial for human welfare and for reaching the SDGs. The chapter gives a brief overview of the world’s forests and forests’ contributions to the SDGs. Forests are only mentioned in two SDGs (SDG 6 and SDG 15). However, due to the interrelated nature of the SDGs and targets, the implementation of the SDG agenda will inevitably influence forests and forest-related livelihoods and the possibilities to achieve the forest specific targets. Understanding the potential impacts of SDGs on forests, forest-related livelihoods and forest-based options to generate progress towards achieving the SDGs, as well as the related tradeoffs and synergies, is crucial for efforts undertaken to reach these goals. It is especially important for reducing potential negative impacts and to leverage opportunities to create synergies that will ultimately determine whether comprehensive progress towards the SDGs will be accomplished.

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