Forests are an important natural resource in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, as they provide environmental goods and services, which comprise soil protection, water conservation, habitat for wildlife, food, and climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration. This revised strategy has put emphasis on the extent and potential offered by regional forest resources, which are currently estimated to cover 41% of total area in the SADC region. 

The focus on forestry and operations by SADC are mandated and guided by the Protocol on Forestry (2002), which entered into force in 2009. In this regard, the subsequent Forestry Strategy (2010- 2020) was developed to reinforce collective regional commitment by SADC to honour critical international issues on forestry and environmental agreements; to encourage multilateral collaboration to protect and manage shared ecosystems and threats beyond national borders; to promote intra and inter-regional trade in forest products; to improve national forest sectors through learning among Member States; and facilitate collective negotiations at international fora to enable strong regional voice.