SDG 3: Good health and well-being – Framing targets to maximise co-benefits for forests and people

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People


Cambridge University Press


School of Science


McFarlane, R. A., Barry, J., Cissé, G., Gislason, M., Gruca, M., Higgs, K., ... & Butler, C. (2020). SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being-Framing Targets to Maximise Co-Benefits for Forests and People. In Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People. Cambridge University Press. Part of https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108765015


SDG3, Health and Wellbeing for All, depends on many other SDGs but there are also potential conflicts and trade-offs. In this chapter, ee stress the importance of forests to global health and well-being as well as for Indigenous and local populations. In contrast, short-term economic and human health gains from further forest conversion (e.g. deforestation for food production) will create direct and indirect health risks for humans, as well as for other biota. Controlling indiscriminate burning and clearing of forests can reduce significant harm to health and well-being, via improved quality of water, soil and air, by reducing exposure to some infectious diseases, through preservation of traditional (and future) medicines, and by supporting other forest resources and services, including climate regulation. Many infectious diseases are associated with forest disturbance and intrusions and some may be prevented or modified through forest management. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including family planning, is a critical SDG3 target to decrease demographic pressures on forests at local, regional and global scales, and to enhance well-being. Greater exposure to green space, including the ‘urban forest’, is likely to have many benefits for mental, social and physical health for the increasingly urban global population.