Nature is the foundation of every economy on Earth. In the developing world, forest resources often account for 20–40% of a family’s annual income, and forests are the source of livelihoods for more than 1.6 billion people worldwide. More than 60% of the world’s working poor are employed in the agricultural sector. And in many communities, ecotourism is an important economic opportunity.
Nature provides construction materials for the buildings where people live, work, play and worship — and for tens of millions of construction jobs worldwide. What’s more, forest products account for about 1% of the world’s gross domestic product, and the total global market for commercial wood products — including logs, lumber, panels, pulp and paper — is more than US$ 200 billion per year.
Nature provides the food we eat, and getting this food to our tables is a major source of jobs around the world. One out of every three global workers is employed in an agricultural job, with millions more employed in fishing. Many local indigenous communities also harvest natural products, like coffee, honey, mushrooms, tagua nuts and acai berries, as their primary sources of income.