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!