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Forests and Food

(Image credit: Toby Smith)

New Publication Shows How Forests Can Lead the Way in Tackling Global Hunger

'The twin challenges of tackling hunger and poor nutrition, and addressing pressures on the world’s forests, have never been more critical. In this timely new book a stellar line-up of authors show the vital synergies between forest ecosystems and food security, and how a people-centred, landscape-approach can harness these for the benefit of all.'

—Professor Melissa Leach, Director
Institute of Development Studies, 
University of Sussex and Co-Chair, Future Earth Science Committee

Forests and Food: Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes  is a new publication that will be launched at the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, which is being held alongside the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Paris, in December.

Forests and Food is a radically accessible resource, free to read, download and reuse under a Creative Commons Open Access license.

Forests have huge potential to reduce global hunger and malnutrition. This book provides the evidence and insights necessary for harnessing that power. Based on the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Global Forest Expert Panel report on Forest and Food Security, this title is designed to help global decision-makers in the effort to meet necessary aspects of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development —particularly, the improvement of nutrition, the realisation of food security, and the eradication of hunger while promoting, sustaining and restoring the use of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. This volume is essential reading for researchers, students, NGOs, governments and anyone interested in the future of our environment. 

As population estimates for 2050 reach over 9 billion, issues of food security and nutrition have been dominating academic and policy debates. A total of 805 million people are undernourished worldwide and malnutrition affects nearly every country on the planet. Despite impressive productivity increases, there is growing evidence that conventional agricultural strategies fall short of eliminating global hunger, as well as having long-term ecological consequences. Forests can play an important role in complementing agricultural production to address ambitious global goals for reducing hunger, and achieving food security and improved nutrition. Forests and trees can be managed to provide better and more nutritionally-balanced diets, offer greater control over food inputs, and deliver ecosystem services for crop production. Forests and Food provides important information about the potential of forests, explores the different roles of integrated landscape management, and examines the governance approaches that are required for the equitable delivery of benefits.   

The editors of Forests and Food—Bhaskar Vira, Christoph Wildburger, and Stephanie Mansourian—chose to publish in Open Access so that their work could reach the largest number of readers possible. Free to read and download online here, the book is also available in interactive e-book and inexpensive paperback and hardback editions.

Open Book Publishers is a non-profit organization and the leading Open Access publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK. They are committed to making high-quality research freely available to readers around the world. This dedication to changing the nature of the traditional academic book continues with Forests and Food.

The cover image for this book was provided by Toby Smith, who is Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence at the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI). UCCRI and Open Book Publishers have established a partnership to publish outputs from interdisciplinary research on biodiversity conservation and its social contexts in open access formats, hoping to reach audiences all over the world, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are closely intertwined with nature.  

Forests and Food: Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes

Edited by Bhaskar Vira, Christoph Wildburger and Stephanie Mansourian

Publication date: November 2015

ISBN Paperback: 9781783741939

Available in paperback (£22.95) and ebook editions (£2.95); the book is also available to read and download for free, in its entirety, from the publisher’s website:

For more information contact: Ben Fried at or +44 (0)1223 339929





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UCCRI is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, with a network of over 150 researchers from all 6 Schools of the University of Cambridge. The Institute supports multidisciplinary research on biodiversity conservation and the social context within which humans engage with nature. It works from a base in the David Attenborough Building, which is designed to enhance collaboration and the sharing of perspectives across organisational and disciplinary boundaries. Find out more...

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