Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares. Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty. Efforts are being made to manage forests and combat desertification.

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Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss ":


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  • Forests
  • Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. This includes some 70 million indigenous people
  • Forests are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects
  • Desertification
  • 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52 per cent of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation
  • As of 2008, land degradation affected 1.5 billion people globally
  • Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate
  • Due to drought and desertification each year 12 million hectares are lost (23 hectares per minute), where 20 million tons of grain could have been grown
  • 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally
  • Biodiversity
  • Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction
  • Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use
  • Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 per cent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production
  • Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 per cent of energy intake
  • As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-­‐based medicines for basic
  • healthcare
  • Micro-organisms and invertebrates are key to ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly known and rarely acknowledged
  • Find a Goal 15 charity you want to support. Any donation, big or small, can make a difference!
  • Reduce your use of paper. Avoid printing and substitute it with electronic devices or carriers.
  • Don’t shop for pets! Visit your local animal shelter and adopt an animal there.
  • Don’t buy products tested on animals: Check the labels on the products you buy.
  • Recycle paper, glass, plastic, metal and old electronics.
  • Compost. Composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
  • Clean your local parks and forests. Organise your own or join an existing clean-up event to sustain the ecosystem of your local green space.
  • Don't use pesticides. To protect and sustain the quality of soil, don’t use chemicals while growing plants.
  • Volunteer with street animal organizations or shelters: Help to sustain diversity and save lives of animal species by volunteering in organizations helping these pets as well as endangered species.
  • Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals online or on social media at @TheGlob

It is important that we all take a small step to make sure that we meet the Global Goals. Use these 12 targets to create action for partnerships for the goals.

Conserve and Restore Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems

By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

Sustainably Manage All Forests

By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Stop Desertification and Restore Degraded Land

By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

Ensure Conservation of Mountain Ecosystems

By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

Protect Biodiversity and Natural Habitats

Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

Promote Fair Share of Benefits from, and Access to Genetic Resources

Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.

Eliminate Poaching and Trafficking of Protected Species

Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.

Prevent Invasive Alien Species on Land and in Water Ecosystems

By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species.

Integrate Ecosystem and Biodiversity in Governmental Planning

By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.

Increase Financial Resources to Conserve and Sustainably Use Ecosystem and Biodiversity

Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.

Finance and Incentivize Sustainable Forest Management

Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation.

Combat Global Poaching and Trafficking

Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.

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