A new study by the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on forests and poverty suggests that forests and trees have the enormous potential to reduce high levels poverty yet these benefits are at risk from rampant forest destruction and rarely reach those who need them most.
The expert report says in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the mounting threat of climate change, forests and trees are vital for the rural poor globally.
The report reveals how forests can offer a critical safety net for poor people in rural areas, sometimes providing their only source of water, food and medicine.
*Pulling from examples from Africa, Asia and Latin America, the report lays out how forests and trees can generate incomes through enterprises like mango production, sustainable logging and other forests- and tree-based industries.**
However, reacting to the report Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Nancy Tembo underscored the urgent need for action for every Malawian to take care of each and every single tree that has been planted. This is part of the tree survival management plan that is being encouraged as part of the National Tree Planting Season.
"I agree with the report that suggest that forests are still underrated as allies to curb rural poverty as Covid-19 continues to sink millions of people into poverty. There is a great need for countries like Malawi to take care of Forests," Tembo explained in an interview.
The global multilateral institution the World Bank estimates that the spread of COVID-19 will push more than 100 million people into poverty as most livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. Multiple expert reports point to rising forest loss and degradation globally.