Forests, Trees and Poverty Alleviation in Africa

Expanded Policy Brief for Stakeholders in Africa

Forests, Trees and Poverty Alleviation in Africa: An Expanded Policy Brief

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Despite the wealth in natural resources, poverty remains a major challenge in countries across Africa. The continent is home to 70% of the world's extreme poor, many of whom often rely heavily on forests, trees and the ecosystem services they provide to support their livelihoods. Although often overlooked resources, forests and tree-based systems are vital in efforts to address poverty. However, it is crucial that policy and management measures that enable forests and trees to alleviate poverty are tailored to each specific context. 

Therefore, IUFRO's GFEP Programme initiated the preparation of  Forests, Trees and Poverty Alleviation in Africa: An Expanded Policy Brief  in November 2020. This policy brief derives its information from the global assessment report of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Poverty with additional complementary research in Africa and stakeholder consultation.It contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by highlighting the nexus between SDG 1: No poverty and SDG 15: Life on land, as well as links to other relevant SDGs.

THE FOLLOWING KEY MESSAGES are highlighted in the policy brief:

  • Forests and trees are critical to poverty alleviation in Africa
  • Forests and trees can contribute to the well-being of the poor in Africa as they face profound global changes
  • The distribution of benefits from forests and trees for human well-being in Africa is inequitable
  • Cross-sectoral coordination in land use policies can avoid excessive costs being borne by the poor
  • Policy measures exist to enable forests and trees to effectively address poverty goals in Africa, but there is no 'one size fits all' solution.

This expanded policy brief was prepared by 20 scientists and in consultation with 207 local stakeholders from various groups including national government, international development organization, civil society and other interest groups. It was launched at an online side event of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2021 in July 2021. You can watch the video of the event on our IUFRO YouTube channel.

For hard copies of the policy brief, please write to schimpf(at)