Amazon Rainforest Deforestation

Page - January 27, 2010
We must stop deforestation in the Amazon to protect the biodiversity of the region as well as the livelihoods of indigenous communities that have relied on the rainforest for survival for many generations. The Amazon is also a valuable carbon store, meaning that stopping deforestation is vital in the struggle to prevent runaway global warming.

Greenpeace: Amazon deforestationEldorado do Xingu cattle farm in a recently deforested area. Cattle ranching is the primary driver of forest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. © Marizilda Cruppe / EVE / Greenpeace

Zero Deforestation Proposal

In October of 2007, Greenpeace and other non-profits released a plan to stop deforestation in the Amazon by 2015. The proposal, only part of which has been adopted by the Brazilian government, sets out specific targets that could see deforestation drop gradually over the next six years. The plan represents thinking on a massive scale, but we believe it can be done.

Key elements of the proposal include: creation of financial incentives to promote forest protection rather than forest destruction; and increased support for forest protection agencies that will allow them to properly monitor, control, and inspect commercial activities in order to prevent illegal logging and land clearance for farming.

Read the agreement

Read the Zero Deforestation Announcement

Forest for Climate Funding Mechanism

Forests for Climate is a groundbreaking proposal for an international funding mechanism to protect tropical forests. The mechanism would become part of the second phase (post-2012) of the Kyoto agreement on climate change.

In the race to fight global warming, time is of the essence. If countries commit to Forests for Climate, funding to protect tropical forests could become available as soon as 2009. Cutting emissions from deforestation in half would take only an estimated $10 to $15 billion per year from the international community. Forests for Climate has the potential to raise far more than that in a balanced, responsible way.

Forests for Climate fact sheet

Forests for Climate technical report

Stop Illegal Loggers

Greenpeace pressures governments to create and enforce international and national laws and pushes timber companies to assess and verify the legal, ecological, and social sustainability of any timber operation and its wood products. By exerting influence through the supply chain, governments have enormous power to encourage responsible forest management and reduce the demand for illegally sourced forest products.

The Lacey Act amendment, passed in spring of 2008 as part of the Farm Bill, gives the United States the authority to prosecute importers of illegally sourced wood. The amendment extends the scope of the 100-year old Lacey Act, which successfully protects wildlife by preventing the illegal trafficking of animals.

While the chief aim of the new law is to make illegal logging operations less profitable, it has the potential to save more than just the millions of acres of forest that are cut down every year by loggers operating outside of the law.

Read more about the Lacey Act

Frequently Asked Questions about the Lacey Act

Renew the Soy Moratorium

For the past few years, Greenpeace has investigated the impact of soybean production on the Amazon. Our team looked beyond the fields and forests of Brazil to trace the entire soy chain from its beginnings in newly deforested parts of the Amazon to the restaurants and supermarkets of Europe. By pressuring downstream companies like McDonald's as well as traders like Cargill, ADM, and Bunge, Greenpeace helped to win a soy moratorium on new deforestation. The two-year moratorium was extended for another year in July of 2008, but we'll need continued pressure to ensure the moratorium is renewed in 2009.

Eating up the Amazon Report

McDonald's Pledges to Protect the Amazon from Soy

Soy Moratorium Turns One

Soy Moratorium Renewed