Introduction to the Forest Biodiversity module

To go directly to the Forest Module, please click here.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with generous funding from the governments of Belgium and Norway, and support from CEEweb for Biodiversity has developed a new tool to support the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s forests, in line with decision X/36 adopted at COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan in 2010.

Forests cover around 31 per cent of the Earth’s surface, and are home to an estimated two thirds of all land-based species. Forests harbor a multitude of plants, animals and micro-organisms, and their associated genetic diversity. They provide many goods and services of both local and global significance. In particular, forests play an important role in the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity is an important part of sustainable development.

Biodiversity, including forest biodiversity, is addressed not only by by environmental but also sectoral instruments (e.g. on forestry, agriculture, trade, etc.) and this at various levels. The growing number of global and regional policy instruments, therefore makes the translation of global and regional obligations and commitments to the national level increasingly complex. A more coherent approach to implementation is facilitated if information, coming from those different policy instruments, is made available to national focal points and other actors in a logical and structured framework.

Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have repeatedly referred to TEMATEA modules as a useful tool for the implementation of the Convention and other agreements. The modules structure information on obligations and commitments from a multitude of instruments according to a specific subject matter. This facilitates the work of the national experts to ensure coherent implementation of national engagements regarding that subject matter by individual countries.

The Forest Biodiversity Module

The Forest Biodiversity module currently contains over 2,400 obligations. It is built primarily around the CBD’s programme of work on forest biodiversity, and also draws upon obligations of many other relevant programmes of work of the CBD, such as that on protected areas. The module further includes obligations and commitments related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, as well as to other international conventions and treaties. The scope goes beyond multilateral environmental agreements to include relevant sectoral policy instruments important for the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and FAO's International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Instruments were chosen for inclusion in the module based on the selection used for the other TEMATEA modules as well as on the advise of the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, the Biodiversity Liaison Group and the TEMATEA Steering Committee.

Given the importance of regional instruments for national implementation related to forest biodiversity, the module is designed to accommodate relevant regional instruments related to forest biodiversity. Currently, the module only incorporates regional obligations from Asia but other regions could be added at a later stage.

Due to the ongoing review by UNEP and IUCN of the TEMATEA website, the Forest Biodiversity Module is temporarily developed as a stand-alone module to allow its timely development for the International Biodiversity Day on the 22nd of May 2011, in the International Year of Forests.

The stand-along follows the approach and structure of the TEMATEA website as this approach has proven its usefulness since 2005. This stand-alone is powered by Flexisle which allowed rapid development of a relational structure to reflect as much as possible the approach used for the TEMATEA website.

In order to prevent duplication of work while providing the same service to the end-users, a maximum of existing material already available on has been either integrated or linked to and updated where necessary. The contents of the Forest Module will in turn be available for integration in the TEMATEA website after its review.

To visit the Forest Biodiversity module, please click here.