Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Target 15.1

By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

The charts below provide data across the world on forested land cover (given as a share of total land area) and the prevalence of terrestrially-protected areas.

Forest area as a share of land area

Terrestrial and freshwater protected areas

Target 15.2

By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is composed of five sub-indicators that measure progress towards all dimensions of sustainable forest management.

The environmental values of forests are covered by three sub-indicators focused on the extension of forest area, biomass within the forest area and protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources. Social and economic values of forests are reconciled with environmental values through sustainable management plans. The sub-indicator provides further qualification to management of forest areas, by assessing areas which are independently verified for compliance with a set of national or international standards.

Data for the five sub-indicators included in this metric of SFM are shown in the charts below.

Target 15.4

By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity.

The visualisations below provide global perspectives on the protection of mountain ecosystems and their biodiversity. These metrics show the share of important biodiversity sites covered as protected areas, and the share of mountainous areas covered by some form of green vegetation.

Target 15.5

Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

The chart below provides a key measure of global biodiversity and extinction threat: the Red List Index (RLI).

The Red List Index (RLI) defines the conservation status of major species groups, and measures trends in the proportion of species expected to remain extant in the near future without additional conservation action. An RLI value of 1.0 equates to all species being categorised as 'Least Concern', and hence that none are expected to go extinct in the near future. A value of 0 indicates that all species have gone extinct.

Target 15.6

Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources.

The visualisations below show, where data is available, countries which are parties to protocols concerned with the promotion and sharing of genetic resources for plants, food and agriculture.

Target 15.a

Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.

The charts below show the total official development assistance (ODA) flows to biodiversity protection and conservation projects, shown by recipient and donor.

Target 15.b

Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management.

Currently data is not available to distinguish total official development assistance (ODA) utilised for sustainable forest management relative to other biodiversity management policies or programmes. As such, these indicators are the same as those shown for Target 15a (above).