May 22, 2020 / 4:11 PM / 5 days ago

Factbox: Pandemic piles pressure on world's shrinking forests

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Forests face an increased risk of being cut down and degraded as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a senior U.N. official said on Friday.

For millions of poor people who have lost casual work in cities and are returning to their homes in rural areas, “the only social safety net they have is the waters, the land and the forest”, Mette Wilkie told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

That makes it more likely trees will be felled for food and fuel because a third of the world’s people still depend on wood to cook, said Wilkie, director of the forestry division at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The warning came as the FAO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched “The State of the World’s Forests 2020” report, on the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Here are 10 key facts from the report:

Sources: The State of the World’s Forests 2020, FAO, UNEP

Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org

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