Countries urged to safeguard genetic diversity of forests

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UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The world's forest species are increasingly coming under pressure and face the threat of extinction, according to a report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources report warns that up to 4000 forest species are being threatened with extinction globally.

It blames human activities such as the conversion of forests to pastures and farmland, overexploitation as well as the impacts of climate change.

FAO Forestry Officer Albert Nikiema says the causes vary from region to region.

"For example a number of threatened species reported by countries is around 800 in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America and 1,500 in Asia. In these regions, the reasons for this threat are overexploitation, conversion of forest to agricultural land or grazing lands. So these are the main reasons.” (25")

Mr. Nikiema said that only 2,000 forest species are reported by countries as being included in conservation activities.

FAO is calling for urgent action to better manage forests and their genetic resources so that rural people who depend on them for their nutrition and livelihoods continue to benefit.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'25"

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