Save the Heart of the Amazon

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.

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.

The latest updates

 

Protecting the Amazon, side by side with the Munduruku

Blog entry by Danicley de Aguiar | 15 June, 2016 5 comments

This morning I woke up in the Sawré Muybu village with a strong sense of anticipation. Today we start a series of collaborations with the Munduruku Indigenous People to defend their ancestral territories and protect the heart of the...

Palm oil giant IOI has lost customers for destroying forests, but will it change?

Blog entry by Annisa Rahmawati | 9 June, 2016

IOI - one of the largest palm oil companies in the world - is having a difficult time right now. Not only has it recently lost its sustainability certification , but as a result its customers are leaving in droves. And with good...

Burning Issue

Publication | 9 June, 2016 at 0:00

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspended Malaysian palm oil company IOI in March 2016 for breaches of RSPO principles. Since its suspension, IOI has lost many of its biggest customers. It responded with a lawsuit against the RSPO,...

Wildfires in Russia: much worse than you could imagine

Blog entry by Khalimat Tekeeva | 3 June, 2016 1 comment

According to analysis of recent satellite data, forest fires in eastern Russia currently cover more than 3.5 million hectares of forested land. An area larger than Belgium! And the fire season in Russia isn't over yet. This...

10 years ago, the Amazon was being bulldozed for soy. Then everything changed.

Blog entry by Paulo Adario | 10 May, 2016 3 comments

This week – after months of negotiation and uncertainty – the Brazilian government, the soy industry and civil society organizations, including Greenpeace, indefinitely renewed an agreement keeping huge swathes of Amazon rainforest...

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