21 July 2020, Rome – FAO launched today the most comprehensive forestry assessment to date in an innovative and easy-to-use digital format.
Available for public viewing, the Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2020) and its first-ever online interactive dissemination platform contain detailed regional and global analyses for 236 countries and territories.
Users can now consult a comparable and consistent set of more than 60 forest indicators across countries and regions and download the requested data in a non-proprietary digital format. Monitoring of change over time is also possible in parameters such as forest area, management, ownership and use.
“The wealth of information on the world’s forests is a valuable public good for the global community to help facilitate evidence-based policy formulation, decision-making and sound investments in the forest sector,” said Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo, at the launch. “These newly released tools will enable us to better respond to deforestation and forest degradation, prevent biodiversity loss and improve sustainable forest management.”
Millions of people around the world depend on forests for their food security and livelihoods. Protecting forests is also key to conserving natural resources, as they harbour most of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity and help mitigate climate change impacts. According to the recently published the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) report, forests contain 60,000 different tree species, 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species, and 68 percent of the Earth’s mammal species.
Therefore, it is crucial to turn the tide on deforestation and the loss of biodiversity which can be done by conserving and sustainably managing forests and trees within an integrated landscape approach – addressing forestry and food security challenges together. Reliable and comprehensive information on forests and other land-uses plays a vital role in this process, FAO says.
In addition, the FRA 2020 data are used by FAO to
 Deforestation is the conversion of forest to other land uses, such as agriculture and infrastructure. The difference between forest area net change and deforestation is that the former is the result of all losses and gains (natural expansion of forest as well as afforestation) and the latter takes into account only the area of forest that has been converted to other land uses.
 In 2011, FAO, the International Tropical Timber Organization, FOREST EUROPE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the Observatory of Central African Forests and the countries of the Montréal Process combined to create the Collaborative Forest Resources Questionnaire (CFRQ). This joint questionnaire was established with the aim of reducing the reporting burden on countries and increasing data consistency across organizations through standardized definitions and the common timing of data collection.
Source : Fao