Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth's land surface. In addition to being important for food security and providing shelter, they are also essential for fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity and provide habitat for indigenous peoples. We are losing 13 million hectares of forest every year, while land degradation is causing desertification of 3.6 billion hectares of land.
Deforestation and desertification - caused by humans and climate change - pose enormous challenges to sustainable development and affect the lives of millions of people in their fight against poverty. Action is being taken to manage forests and challenge desertification.
For example, by 2020, deforestation must cease and afforestation must increase worldwide. By the same year, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems must be protected, especially forests, swamps, mountain areas and steppes. By 2030, desertification must be stopped.