Thu, 23 Sep 2021

SANTIAGO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Forests in Latin America and the Caribbean are key to environmental sustainability and food security, said a UN official on Monday.

Julio Berdegue, regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighted the importance of forests in improving people's livelihoods, counteracting the impacts of climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

"Forests have a strategic role to play in the future resilience of food systems. Sustainable forest products allow for increased social, economic and environmental benefits," he said in a statement issued from the FAO's regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile, as part of conclusions from the 32nd Session of the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC).

According to the FAO, forests provide ecosystem services that are crucial for agriculture, such as regulating river flow, protecting the soil and replenishing groundwater.

South America lost 2.6 million hectares of forest each year from 2010 to 2020, the second highest rate in the world, after Africa, according to FAO data.

The LACFC also underlined the importance of access to land and resources, and forest investment, and how these can improve the wellbeing of women, youth and indigenous communities.

The 32nd LACFC Session took place on Sept. 6-10, with Jamaica serving as host country, and was attended by more than 100 experts.

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