Goal 15: Life on land   

Pahmung Krui Damar Forest in Indonesia. Photo: Eva Fendiaspara/UN

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

Human life depends on the earth as much as the ocean for our sustenance and livelihood. Plant life provides 80 percent of our human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource and means of development. Forests account for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, providing vital habitats for millions of species and important sources for clean air and water; as well as being crucial for combating climate change.

Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Drought and desertification is also on the rise each year, amounting to the loss of 12 million hectares and affects poor communities globally. Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020. Promoting the sustainable management of forests and halting deforestations is also vital to mitigating the impact of climate change. Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage.

Conserving forests and other ecosystems is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 15.

Our work

Naga youth water plants
UNDP in Myanmar
Naga youth join forces to
protect forests

An estimated 47 percent of Myanmar’s land mass is covered with forests. Close to 100,000 Naga people living mostly though subsistence farming and hunting.more 

UNDP in China
Biodiversity conservation yields organic tea

Green tea, abundantly available in China, is an important commodity for Li, who has been farming tea for twenty years. Every year the mountains attract hundreds of tourists.more 

Youth in Nepal
UNDP in Nepal
Restoring land, nurturing young leaders

Despite the beautiful landscapes, panoramic views, and resilient mountain people, life in the mountains of Nepal can be tough, particularly for rural youth.more 

Colombia farmers
UNDP in Colombia
A cup of coffee, spiced with biodiversity

In Colombia, for over 50 years coffee has been the main engine of economic growth and development in the biodiversity-rich landscapes of the Andean region.more 

Ecosystems and biodiversity

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