Forests are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. They are a source of food, medicines and biofuel for more than 1 billion people. They protect soils and water, host more than three quarters of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and help tackle climate change. Forests provide many products and services that contribute to socio-economic development and create work and income for tens of millions of people. FAO completed its first assessment of the world’s forest resources in 1948. At that time, its major objective was to collect information on available timber supply to satisfy post-war reconstruction demand. Since then, the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) has evolved into a comprehensive evaluation of forest resources and their condition, management and uses, covering all the thematic elements of sustainable forest management. This, the latest of these assessments, examines the status of, and trends in, forest resources over the period 1990–2020, drawing on the efforts of hundreds of experts worldwide. The production of FRA 2020 also involved collaboration among many partner organizations, thereby reducing the reporting burden on countries, increasing synergies among reporting processes, and improving data consistency.