Abstract In the last two decades, there has been increasing interest in the role that forests play in food security and improved nutrition as a result of increased realization of the dependence of local people on forests and trees to meet important needs such as food and income. Forests and trees make a big contribution to improved diets and nutritional quality, by adding variety to diets, improving taste and palatability of staples and providing essential vitamins, protein and calories. They provide a large range of edible foods, such as seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, mushrooms and gums; they are habitat for wild animals, insects, rodents and fish; they provide fodder for livestock; and they provide fuelwood for food processing (Falconer and Arnold, 1991). The FAO Forestry Department provides to members legislative and policy support, capacity development and technical guidance on sustainable forest management, including trees outside forests, and on the sustainable management of wildlife within and outside protected areas. The aim of this work is to support improved livelihoods, including food security, nutrition and incomes of local people. There are some challenges related to policy environment, for example, lack of hard data on the contribution of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) to diets, and other governance constraints, that mask the visibility of forestry and its important role in national food security and nutrition policies and strategies.

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