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A deforestation-free economy

Brazil Katie Evans CIFOR

Tropical deforestation is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Tropical forests are vital for humanity. They regulate our climate; provide a home for millions of Earth’s species; and help maintain our water and food security. Yet we are destroying them at an alarming rate. This drives climate change and biodiversity loss, undermines water cycles, and directly impacts over a billion of the world’s poorest people who rely on forests for their livelihoods.

So why are we doing this? The answer is global consumption. More than two thirds of this destruction is carried out to produce ‘forest risk’ commodities like soy, beef, palm oil, pulp and paper. These are then traded along complex global supply chains and end up in 50% of the products in our supermarkets. Deforestation is hidden in our chocolate and toothpaste, our packaging and buildings, even in our investments and pensions.

So we are all part of the deforestation economy.

In 2015, the New York Declaration on Forests was signed by a powerful group of world leaders, multinational companies and financial institutions. It commits them to go deforestation-free by 2020.

Progress is too slow – but this is an opportunity that must not be missed if we are to achieve a deforestation-free economy and save our remaining tropical forests.