Forest health and human health closely linked, says ITTO Executive Director

21 March 2023

Yokohama, Japan, 21 March 2023: In a statement issued on the International Day of Forests, ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru says there is strong evidence for the close relationship between forests and human health and, therefore, sustainable forest management is essential for ensuring the mental and physical health of people.

“As the world population grows and people crowd ever more closely together, the realization has dawned that we need to take a holistic view of human health,” writes Ms Satkuru. “Put bluntly, we need healthy forests for our survival.”

In her statement, Ms Satkuru lists some of the many benefits of forests for human health and provides examples of ITTO’s policy and project work for ensuring healthy forests and healthy people.

“Ultimately, all ITTO’s work is about human health,” she writes. “Knowing the importance of forests—and tropical forests in particular—to the planet and people, we promote sustainable tropical forest management and a sustainable tropical timber trade as means for maintaining forests and all the values of human wellbeing they embody.”

Ms Satkuru calls on policymakers, financial institutions and consumers to ensure that communities, companies and governments are properly remunerated for their forest management efforts.

Read the full statement

Related SDGs

Fair remuneration for forest products and ecosystem services will help lift many forest-dependent communities out of poverty.

There is strong evidence for the close relationship between forests and human health. Sustainable forest management ensures healthy forests.

ITTO ensures that its work integrates and mainstreams gender considerations, thereby recognizing the invaluable contributions of women to (among other things) the health and wellbeing of their families.

Sustainably managed forests produce clean water for drinking and sanitation.

Sustainably managed forests are healthy forests, and there is a strong link between healthy forests and healthy people. Consumers can support sustainable forest management by adequately remunerating forest owners and managers for their management efforts.

The list of benefits for life on land offered by healthy forests is extensive. Sustainable forest management ensures healthy forests and thus its correlation with human health.