Congo forests

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

 

The Soya Moratorium lives on – but what will follow after it?

Blog entry by Richard George | 26 November, 2014

For eight years, the Soya Moratorium has protected the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. It has just been renewed for the eighth time . But what happens when it ends for good, 18 months from now? The Soya Moratorium was...

Momentum Builds for No Deforestation Palm Oil

Blog entry by Suzanne Kroger (@suzanne_gp) | 25 November, 2014 3 comments

By now you know the problem: a rapidly expanding palm oil industry, eating up forests, draining carbon-rich peatlands, and sparking conflict with local people and workers. But if you had to guess at what is turning out to be a key...

Belgium authorities impound Rainbow Trading's illegal timber

Blog entry by Daniela Montalto | 14 November, 2014 2 comments

The Belgian authorities have impounded six containers of Brazilian Amazon timber from Rainbow Trading, the company responsible for Amazon destruction we told you about last week. The authorities have confirmed two of the containers...

Caught up in the battle against Congo's irresponsible loggers

Blog entry by Sylvain Trottier | 13 November, 2014 1 comment

"It's too far away", "there's nothing to see or do there", "it's too hard to get to..." The reasons people find to avoid the long journey to some of the Democratic Republic of Congo's many remote forested areas are numerous. ...

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