Campaign on Forest Definition

2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. In response, WRM has launched a campaign that challenges the definition of “forest” used by FAO. This is not a simple matter of semantics: FAO’s definition of forest has negative repercussions at the local and global level because it legitimizes the expansion of industrial monoculture tree plantations. Even worse, other UN organizations and initiatives, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as numerous national governments, use this same definition in negotiations, programmes and policies.

This has led us to develop a number of different activities that we detail below

Action alerts 21 September 2016
Dear Friends, Today, September 21st, marks the International Day of Struggle Against Tree Plantations. On this day, as part of the actions happening internationally, WRM along with the organizations Salva la Selva and TimberWatch are launching an Open Letter to the FAO.
Action alerts 21 September 2016
This open letter, calling on the FAO to revise its forest definition, will be sent to the FAO next March 21 when the International day of Forests is commemorated. If your organization has not yet signed, we invite you to support the letter. Please send an email to and include your organization’s name and country. Signatures as of March 16, 2017
Other information 23 March 2016
width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Dear friends:
Multimedia 21 March 2016
On the 21st of March, International Day of the Forests, the FAO has launched another nice video. This year the video is about forests and water. Did you notice the video does not include any monoculture tree plantations, even though FAO considers them as forests? How would look such a video if coherent with FAO´s forest definition?
Action alerts 18 August 2015
At the UN's World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September, policymakers, industry and others will debate the 'sustainable future' of forests and people. But there can be no sustainable future until the UN and governments accept that real forests have nothing in common with sterile industrial tree plantations. The world’s forests are being destroyed at a breathtaking pace.
Other information 5 April 2014
La Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth International, Focus on the Global South, the World Rainforest Movement and more than than 120 organizations from around the world sent a letter to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, in Rome, on the occasion of March 21st, the UN International Day of Forest. The letter demands that the FAO change its present definition of forests.
Bulletin articles 29 June 2012
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is hosting a Rio+20 side event on June 18, called “Forests: The heart of a green economy”. FAO states that sustainable forest-based enterprises can offer a pathway for the transition toward a low-carbon economy, and announces that this event “will highlight the role of forests and industry in fostering local livelihoods.” It adds that “climate-smart” management of forests is increasingly seen as “a collaborative effort between the public custodians of forests, private enterprises and local communities.” (1)
Other information 30 January 2012
On January 21, during International Green Week in Berlin, the environmental organization Rainforest Rescue presented the director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with more than 27,000 signatures in support of an initiative headed up by 613 scientists and professionals in various fields related to the study of nature around the world, calling on FAO to amend its definition of “forest” (see
Bulletin articles 29 January 2012
The year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. Major international events such as the climate conference in South Africa and the upcoming Rio+20 summit in Brazil and biodiversity conference in India have also contributed to making forests a key issue on the global agenda, as well as the subject of high-profile public relations campaigns.
Bulletin articles 30 December 2011
The United Nations (UN) declared this year, 2011, the International Year of Forests. Now that 2011 is coming to an end, it would be interesting to take a look back for a brief overview.
Multimedia 29 November 2011
width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"> Produced by the World Rainforest Movement Directed by Flavio Pazos The United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests
Publications 10 November 2011
When we talk about “the definition of forest”, what is perhaps most striking is the fact that, although there are many definitions of the word “forest” in different parts of the world, there is one definition viewed as more official and international, to which many national governments, institutions and other bodies and organizations adhere. This is the definition of forest developed by FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.