Food Wasted, Food Lost

systems (Sunderland et al. 2013). It is estimated that 2.4 billion people use biomass (wood, crop residues, charcoal and dung) energy for heating and processing food (UNEP 2011a). Ecosystem approaches to forest management National forest policies should give more priority to the contributions of forests to food security and to millions of livelihoods (UNEP 2011a; FAO 2011a). Managing forests sustainably is essential for healthy ecosystems and for the continuation of forests as a provider of food as well as other supporting and regulating services important for the productivity of other ecosystems. Through deforestation practices such as timber extraction and land conversion, food is being lost directly through cutting down plants that produce food and destroying habitat for animals, insects and birds. Food is also lost indirectly through the degradation of forest ecosystems that provide services crucial for other food producing ecosystems, such as water regulation, pollination, soil fertility improvement and nutrient cycling. Ecosystem approaches to forest management can play a crucial role in averting food loss by recognizing the inter-linkages with other ecosystems as well as the value of forest ecosystem

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC 2007) estimated that the forest sector, including deforestation, contributes 17.4 per cent of all greenhouse gases from anthropogenic sources. On the other hand, forests absorb about 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to one-third of the carbon dioxide released through the burning of fossil fuels (Pan et al. 2011). The ability of forests to store carbon dioxide in trees and soil, and hence mitigate climate change, is therefore an important ecosystem service (MA 2005; FAO 2011a) that indirectly contributes towards securing future food production, especially for rural farmers who are struggling with changing weather patterns. One of the challenges related to forest food is that it is seasonal, meaning that large proportions are harvested at the same time. Rural households as well as local markets often lack sufficient storage and preservation capacity to prevent the food from decomposing. Traditional methods of processing food such as drying and smoking are important strategies (FAO 2011a) that can contribute towards reducing food waste and extending the food supply into non-productive periods. Fuel wood is the main source of energy used for processing and cooking food, making wood from forests an essential component of local food


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