SDG 15 - Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

SDG15 is concerned with sustainable management of our terrestrial ecosystems, in a more densely populated and resource-taxed world.

Many of the targets are not quantifiable. Forest area is a primary indicator for preserving ecosystems, and includes both conserving existing forest and re-establishing forest areas – these are summed up in the indicator on total forest area. We have also included a pure conservation indicator – the biodiversity measure.


The needed combination of efforts in development, growth, and restoration is a challenge in developing countries, but developed countries also face challenges in many areas of SDG15. The regions are classified according to expected similarities in economic development rather than geography and topography. In particular, BRISE is a very diverse region that contains both huge boreal forests in the north and rainforest around the equator, as well as urban and densely populated areas. Although there are large geographical variations within the regions, our assessment is based on average regional values.

BRISE and ROW achieve low scores on all indicators and are rated red. China, OECD, and USA are likely to achieve some targets and not others, and are given a yellow rating.

Understanding the score

Five regions: USA, OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world).
Green light: Goal likely to be reached.
Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.
Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.

APP: Plunging to zero deforestation

With its headquarters in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and one of the fastest-growing economies, and with dozens of pulpwood suppliers managing concessions of 2.6 million hectares of forests, APP is at the nexus of challenges around the sustainable use of natural resources.

“We need to work together to find solutions to make sure that these ecosystems remain intact," says APP's Managing Director of Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement, Aida Greenbury. "The responsibility lies with all of us. The producers of commodities, the consumers of those commodities, as well as governments.” 

Greenbury believes that APP’s journey is proof that this is possible. “For us it is not a question of feasibility, it is a question of survival. Not just for our business, but also for our country and for the world.”

Greenbury believes the only way forward is through cooperation between businesses, communities, NGOs and government. “The further we have gone in implementing our Forest Conservation Policy, the more we have realised that ending deforestation and restoring degraded landscapes cannot be achieved by private sector actors alone – all hands across the landscape are needed. This means partnering with others who are working to implement similar policies with our shared objectives. But it also means talking to those with opposing views and understanding the different types of land use and pressures on forests across the landscape.”

For the complete forecast on SDG 15: Life on land and the full APP story, download the report.

The Future of Spaceship Earth