Sustainable agriculture and forests

Agriculture needs to address the challenge of feeding a world population estimated at over 9 billion by 2050. FFEM focuses on promoting sustainable rural territories, preserving natural resources and ecosystems, as well as on climate change mitigation and resilience.

Rural territories play a major role in changing development dynamics. It is for this reason that FFEM promotes integrated approaches, considering agricultural and forest territories as a whole and taking into account interactions between humans, natural resources and the services rendered by ecosystems.
Saline Bali, Bassin du Congo

How does FFEM take action in the agricultural and forestry sectors to address global challenges?


How does FFEM take action in the agricultural and forestry sectors to address global challenges?

The projects supported by FFEM in the forestry and agricultural sectors are original in that they can simultaneously contribute to the issues of several international conventions:

  • Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, projects that contribute to preserving the exceptional biodiversity sheltered by forests and to developing the link between agriculture and biodiversity (improvement in the biodiversity of production systems, maintenance of the diversity of species and genetic resources);
  • Under the Convention to Combat Desertification, by maintaining forest cover that contributes to soil conservation, developing conservation agriculture and agricultural practices that reduce soil erosion and restore its fertility, improving the management of pastoral systems to better manage pressures on resources;
  • Under the Climate Change Convention, with forests and soils playing a central role in regulating climate cycles, in particular via their carbon storage capacities. Agriculture is also highly vulnerable to climate change with yields that are naturally related to the climate.

FFEM directly contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through its financial support

Burkina ACFAO

FFEM directly contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through its financial support

In the context of this thematic area, it in particular contributes to adaptation to climate change and to the reduction of its impacts (SDG 13), as well as to the conservation and sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15).

FFEM’s actions for sustainable agriculture


The challenges

This thematic area is part of the following global challenges:

  • Adaptation to climate change,
  • The mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions,
  • The protection of biodiversity,
  • And the sustainable management of water, soil and forests.

These challenges require major changes to the dynamics of development and growth, particularly in rural areas.

The approach: landscapes and territories

FFEM is committed to applying a “landscape/territorial” approach as a principle for operations, such as agroecology.

Its objective is to promote integrated strategies for the conservation and management of natural resources that ensure the well-being of populations and their food security, while addressing the issues of the major international conventions.

FFEM focuses on three strategic areas to ensure that agriculture can provide a lasting and sustainable response to the challenge of feeding a world population estimated at over 9 billion by 2050:

  • The promotion of sustainable rural territories,
  • The preservation of natural resources and ecosystems,
  • Climate change mitigation and resilience.

FFEM’s action for sustainable forest management

Brasil Forest Biodiversity


Forests are disappearing at a rate of about 0.5% a year, i.e. 9.8 million hectares, the equivalent of a fifth of the surface area of mainland France.

It is essential to preserve forest resources.

  • Forests fulfil essential functions for ecosystems.
  • They currently cover over 4 billion hectares corresponding to approximately 30% of land surfaces.
  • They also contribute to the storage of 20% of carbon emissions.

Deforestation has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. It destabilizes the water cycle by accelerating the run-off process. It also accelerates land degradation mechanisms.


Since its creation in 1994, FFEM’s priority focus has been projects located in the large forest areas of the planet (Congo Basin, Amazon), where the main challenges in terms of both biodiversity and climate are concentrated. But this does not mean that it has neglected the other forest areas: Mediterranean forests, dry forests in West Africa, climax forests in Latin America... where there is a fragile balance in relations between humans and forests.

FFEM supports projects on the basis of these main objectives:

  • Protected areas: creation, extension and/or management of forest areas with a legal protection status.

These types of projects are currently ongoing in the Congo Basin, in the Amazonian Basin, as well as in a number of other geographical areas (Latin America, West and East Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caucasus...). Furthermore, FFEM supports the establishment and development of legal and financial instruments that aim to ensure the sustainability of protected area management systems (Trust Funds, National Agencies…).

  • Sustainable forest management: FFEM supports States and companies in the forestry sector in order to ensure that forest exploitation practices are compatible with the conservation of biodiversity, the well-being of local communities and the maintenance of the carbon stock. In this section, FFEM’s efforts to promote and develop the certification of wood products can be highlighted.
  • Non-timber forest products: to sustainably develop natural resources for local communities, FFEM contributes to the development of sustainable sectors.
  • Fuelwood: in many parts of the world, wood remains the main energy source. FFEM supports projects which develop renewable energies and reduce wood consumption.
  • Forest carbon: forests contribute to the storage of over 20% of carbon emissions. Forest ecosystems thereby play a central role in stabilizing the climate. FFEM contributes to increasing the storage capacities of forests.

Furthermore, the current climate changes have a powerful impact on forests themselves, whose impacts need to be measured in order to protect against them in the future. In this respect, FFEM contributes to studying and evaluating climate change adaptation measures in forest ecosystems.

9 billion
people to feed by 2050
9.8 million
hectares of forests disappear around the world every year
3 projects
financed in 2017 concern the theme “Sustainable Agriculture and Forests”

In 2017, FFEM supported 3 projects under the “Sustainable agriculture and forests” theme:

  • The North Congo Forest Landscape Project ensures the preservation of biological diversity while supporting socio-economic development and rational land use planning.
  • In the Colombian Pacific region, a project is supporting a community forest management process for the sustainable and legal exploitation of forests.
  • In the Sahel, a project supports municipalities in the restoration of forests and landscapes of their territory and in the development of income-generating activities.
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