Zero deforestation

Forest destruction produces about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions - more than all the cars, planes, and trains in the world.

Lulu John, Warume Sakas and Aebi Sakas bring home food and medicine gathered from the forest at Elie, Middle Fly District, PNG.

The world's ancient forests are still being destroyed, even though we know that they provide the world with clean, fresh water, support as much as 90 per cent of the earth's land-based plant and animals and play a critical role in shaping the world's climate. They are also home to millions of forest dependent people. Yet every two seconds a forest area the size of a soccer pitch is logged or burned. Less than 20 per cent of the earth's original forest cover remains in intact forest landscapes. More than one third of this is under threat.

Industrial logging is the greatest menace to the forests survival. Transnational corporations have destructive operations and often work outside the law, harvesting the worlds' last remaining ancient forests.

Incredibly, these irreplaceable habitats are cut down to make cheap paper and wood products, such as phone books, milk cartons and chopsticks. Huge volumes of plywood, much of it used to make disposable concrete moulds, come from ancient forests.

Logging also contributes to climate change because carbon, a greenhouse gas, is released when trees are cut down. Present rates of forest destruction account for 15 per cent of global carbon emissions.

The forests can be saved

This destruction is unnecessary. Environmentally and socially responsible forest management can, and is, being practised worldwide. However, with currently less than 5% credibly certified as responsibly managed, ancient forests continue to be at risk from accelerating rates of destructive and illegal logging.

If we use wood and paper efficiently, we would not need to take the wood from our ancient forests, consumer demand could be met by well-managed secondary forests, plantation, recycling and non-wood sources like hemp.

What is Greenpeace doing internationally?

Greenpeace is campaigning globally to protect the last remaining ancient forests by opposing their destruction and supporting community-based solutions, through:

  • A moratorium on industrial developments in large intact ancient forests so that land use planning can be completed and a network of protected areas established.
  • Ensuring governments increase their efforts to stop illegal logging and the trade in illegal wood products. Also that they stop funding or approving projects that expand logging into ancient forests or that convert or degrade ancient forests.
  • Supporting community forest use 'solutions' that protect the forest ecosystem.

What is Greenpeace New Zealand doing?

Greenpeace New Zealand's work to save our ancient forests focuses mainly on the protection of the Paradise Forests, which are located through Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia.

What can you do?

  • There are several easy things you can do to help - go to the what you can do pages and take action to save our ancient forests!

The latest updates


They murdered my mother for defending the environment — help me seek justice

Blog entry by Salvador Edgardo Zuniga Cáceres | July 21, 2016

It has been four months since the murder of environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, and her killers have still  not been brought to justice. Instead, the violence continues  – o n 7 July, another activist from...

'The river is our blood.' Standing with the Munduruku in the heart of the Amazon

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | July 21, 2016

There is nothing quite like flying over the Brazilian Amazon. The forest spreads out like an endless green carpet, crisscrossed by ribbons of water, and goes on for as far as the eye can see. Banks of clouds break up the vast sky. As...

Protecting the Amazon, side by side with the Munduruku

Blog entry by Danicley de Aguiar | June 17, 2016

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...

INFOGRAPHIC: What you should know about the heart of the Amazon

Blog entry by Alia Lassal | May 30, 2016

The Tapajós River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the entire Brazilian Amazon. But this river in the heart of the rainforest  and the people and ecosystems that depend on it  face a serious threat. Here’s what you need to...

How well do you know the orangutan?

Blog entry by MeenaRajput | May 25, 2016

Next in the series, forests campaigner Richard George shares his 10 favourite facts about one of of our closest living relatives - the orangutan: 10. Orangutans are ticklish There are two kinds of ticklish. There’s the gentle...

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