Herakles Farms

Protecting forests

We campaign for forest protection because, without healthy, thriving forests, planet Earth cannot sustain life. As much as eighty per cent of the world's forests have been degraded or destroyed. Greenpeace is campaigning for zero deforestation by 2020 to protect what is left of these extraordinary ecosystems.

Evolving over millennia, tropical forests are one of the greatest storehouses of nature's diversity on Earth; of all of the world's land species, around two thirds live in forests. Many of these rare creatures - orang-utans, tigers, jaguars, forest elephants and rhinos - are increasingly threatened by extinction.

But the importance of forests stretches far beyond their own boundaries. Forests help to regulate the Earth's climate because they store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their living parts - roughly 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

When they're destroyed through logging or burning, this carbon is released into the atmosphere as the climate changing greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. The destruction of forests is responsible for up to a fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions - more than every plane, car, truck, ship and train on the planet combined.

Forests also regulate water flow and rainfall so we depend on them to grow our crops and food. The loss of forest in one part of the world can have severe impacts in another; forest loss in Amazonia and Central Africa can severely reduce rainfall in the USA Midwest, for example.

With so many of the world's forests already destroyed, we urgently need to protect what is left. Yet industry is still relentlessly converting forests into disposable products that end up in our shopping baskets - while pushing species to the brink of extinction, destroying the lives and livelihoods of forest communities and exacerbating global climate change.

Man made fires to clear land for cattle or crops in Brazil.

Greenpeace is campaigning for zero deforestation, globally, by 2020.

To achieve this, we challenge destructive industries to change their practices, and we inspire consumer action to demand that our food, paper and timber products aren't linked to forest destruction.

We lobby political power holders to take the co-ordinated international and local political action that's needed to protect the world's forests, the rights of the people who depend on them, biodiversity and the climate.

We work alongside indigenous communities at the frontline of forest destruction - in the Amazon, the Congo, Indonesia - to investigate, document, expose and take action against forest destruction.

With the help of hundreds of thousands of supporters, we've won some amazing victories. Deforestation of the Amazon for soya and beef has significantly reduced due to the soya and cattle moratoria, the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada has been protected and is being sustainably managed, 80,000 hectares of northern Finnish reindeer grazing forests have been protected, and, thanks to pressure from our supporters, multinational giants like Nestlé and Unilever have changed their palm oil sourcing policies to help protect Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands.

In recent years, the possibility of a global political framework to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) has moved firmly onto the international political agenda. Greenpeace is campaigning for the right deal - which, if achieved, could benefit biodiversity, people and the climate as well protecting the world's forests.

But, in the minute it has taken you to read this page, a forest area the size of 35 football pitches has been destroyed. Our Earth's extraordinary and irreplaceable forests need to be protected, urgently. Sign up to join the campaign here:

The latest updates

 

Arrest of forest rights activists symbolic of what's wrong in India

Blog entry by Aaron Gray-Block | 31 July, 2014

It was just past midnight when Indian police hauled two Greenpeace India activists out of their sleep and arrested them this week as a crackdown on protests against a planned coal mine in the Mahan forest intensified. The arrests...

Cargill's palm oil commitment

Blog entry by Joao Talocchi | 30 July, 2014

Cargill, the largest importer of palm oil into the United States, one of the world's largest commodities traders and a palm oil producer itself, made a pledge to break the link between its palm oil and deforestation, peat destruction...

DRC's trees are endangered too

Blog entry by Danielle Van Oijen | 15 July, 2014

When one thinks of endangered species, the usual large animals spring to mind. Elephants, tigers, rhinos. And quite rightly they are the ones who get the lion's share of the attention at the meeting of the standing committee of the ...

6 myths this Indonesian logger didn't want busted

Feature story | 8 July, 2014 at 4:00

A new study published last week shows Indonesia's forests are disappearing faster than anywhere else in the world. In Sumatra and Kalimantan, much of this destruction is in forested peatlands. Draining and clearing peatland forests has a...

Pushing for transparency in Congo Basin palm oil

Blog entry by Amy Moas | 27 June, 2014

The global palm oil industry is at a critical juncture. In 2012 we published a report that outlined how Africa is a new frontier for industrial palm oil production . This may bring much needed development to the continent, but it...

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