The goal focuses specifically on managing forests sustainably, halting and reversing land and natural habitat degradation, successfully combating desertification and stopping biodiversity loss. All these efforts combined aim to ensure that the benefits of land-based ecosystems, including sustainable livelihoods, will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth’s land but, despite efforts to protect them, around 13 million hectares vanish each year.
Despite numerous international engagements to protect forest areas, national and regional afforestation and reforestation efforts need to accelerate in order to ensure the sustainability of forests (target 15.2). While some regions have steadily increased forest coverage, Latin America and the Caribbean has lost 97 million hectares since 1990, and Sub- Saharan Africa has lost 83 million hectares (figure 15a).
In every region the survival of species is increasingly threatened
As of 2015, over 23,000 species of plants, fungi and animals were known to face a high probability of extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Index, amphibians are declining most rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily owing to the chytrid fungal disease, one of numerous wildlife diseases on the rise worldwide. The greatest increases in extinction risk for birds and mammals have occurred in South-Eastern Asia, mainly driven by the conversion of lowland forests. On average, the extinction risk for coral species is increasing most rapidly, while cycad species (an ancient group of cone-producing plants) are the most severely threatened species group assessed. However, the loss of species is not inevitable: extinction risks for vertebrate species have been reversed in five small island developing States (Cook Islands, Fiji, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tonga) as a result of conservation actions over the last several decades.