How agriculture and forestry are intrinsically linked
Forests and trees critically contribute to sustainable agrifood systems, food security and nutrition, including through the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Agriculture and forestry are intrinsically linked: in many rural areas, farmers depend on both agriculture and forestry for income and subsistence. Support from forests to agriculture includes offering habitats for pollinators, water regulation, soil fertility and carbon sequestration.
Yet we have lost 420 million ha of forest through deforestation since 1990 and deforestation continues, although the rate has slowed from 11 million ha per year in the decade 2000–2010 to 8.8 million ha per year in the period 2010–2018. There are persistent trade-offs between agriculture and forests, with competition for land among the most notable; responsible for almost 90 percent of global deforestation between 2000 and 2018, agricultural expansion for cropland and livestock grazing is the largest driving force of forest loss.
This paper summarizes the current state of concepts and approaches for addressing deforestation in the trade, marketing, and production of agricultural commodities that have a disproportionate impact on forests at international, national, and landscape levels.
To date, predominant attention has been directed toward the role of the private sector and “consumer countries” that shape market regulation. This publication aims to complement the international discourse by generating a greater focus on the role of “producer country” governments at the national and local levels to support efforts to decouple agricultural production from deforestation.