Solutions to Deforestation

Solutions to deforestation

Forests are far more important to our well-being than most people appreciate and maintaining them is one of the key solutions to deforestation. We need them to breathe even; to recycle carbon back into oxygen. We also need them to survive; around the world, 300 million people live in forests and one billion people depend on them. They support hundreds of millions of jobs and livelihoods.1

This is why we need more solutions to fight against deforestation. The world’s forest land is under threat from people cutting down trees for farmland, cattle ranching, timber, development or mining. Forest fires are also a major threat.

“The main reason tropical forests are disappearing is not a mystery – vast areas continue to be cleared for soy, beef, palm oil, timber, and other globally traded commodities”, says Frances Seymour at the World Resources Institute.2

So, what can we do? Luckily, conservationists have developed a number of ways to fight the causes of deforestation. Tackling deforestation is the quickest and most cost-effective way to stop climate change.3

What are some solutions to deforestation?

There are a number of tried and tested solutions to deforestation that we can all push for collectively. These tactics in fighting deforestation range from getting companies and governments to change their habits to encouraging people to consume products with more care and avoiding certain products. It also means supporting Indigenous Peoples.4

Decisions by private corporations on where and how they source raw materials has a huge impact on forests. Better decisions would vastly reduce deforestation, including illegal logging. So, it’s unsurprising that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pressure or work with companies towards this goal. For example, Marks & Spencer, Penguin Random House and Carillion have all pledged to legally and sustainably source their wood and paper.5

Introducing climate change policies for companies

Companies can be pressured to buy from sustainable sources, phase out damaging materials or stop using certain products. Implementing zero deforestation policies on supply chains can have a big impact. It requires holding suppliers to high standards when they produce commodities such as timber, beef, soya, palm oil and paper products to have minimal impact on the climate.6

Trees store carbon dioxide, and cutting down trees releases the CO2 back into the atmosphere. The effects of deforestation and illegal logging on a large scale can contribute to an excess of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. Over eight million acres of forests are cut down each year.7 This mainly occurs in the tropics, including Nigeria and Brazil. The Amazon rainforest, also cited as the lungs of the planet, has lost forestry at such a high rate that local communities have been displaced. This has been to satisfy the demand for specific agriculture and livestock for farming.8

Work with Indigenous groups to stop deforestation

Another solution to deforestation is to empower Indigenous people and work with them to stop deforestation. This is important since forests have been home to Indigenous people for tens of thousands of years – ever since the dawn of human society. Empowering them to defend their traditional homelands is an important and successful way to stop deforestation.9

For example, the Waswanipi Cree of Northern Quebec is fighting to keep the last wild forests on their traditional land intact. The Munduruku people of the Amazon are battling a proposed mega-dam that threatens rainforests, a river and their way of life. Greenpeace is working in both regions to stop deforestation.10 This tactic ensures that activists work with people who are being directly affected, which should always be a priority. It is also legally and morally harder for corporations and governments to evict people from their homes.

Raise awareness around greenhouse gas emissions and palm oil

Another key solution to deforestation is to empower and inform consumers and governments to make better choices. Ordinary people can help stop deforestation by eating less meat, avoiding single-use packaging, eating sustainable food, and choosing recycled or responsibly-produced wood products. They can also go paperless at home or in the office, recycle products, and avoid palm oil and planting trees.11

Informing people to take action in their own lives empowers them in personal ways and makes action against deforestation an everyday part of their lives.12 Single-use products, whether they are made out of wood or plastic, are a big contributor to waste and energy use.

Meat-eating also causes deforestation in several ways. Forests are cleared out for growing grains for livestock and the energy required to feed and process them has a significant impact on the environment. The meat industry contributes to around 14 per cent of the global emissions, according to WWF.13

Pressure governments to lower carbon dioxide levels

We should also push our governments to do their part. They can, and should, invest significantly more into forest protection and expansion. For example, China has been investing billions to rejuvenate and build new forests as it is better for farmers and their land. Over the last 25 years, it has created new forests covering over 79 million hectares – a land area over three times the size of the UK.14

Governments around the world can also do more to invest in policies that protect trees or, at the least, carry out carefully planned tree planting to mitigate the effects of deforestation. US legislation, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, the Lacey Act and the Roadless Rule, help protect forest land and stop illegal timber entering the US.15

Governments can also sign international treaties for the protection of animals and forests. That would also push other countries to enact similar policies.

We all have a large part to play in fighting deforestation. It is an important goal, and one we can win for the sake of our planet and ourselves. If we take care of nature, nature takes care of us.

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic answer

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic answer 1

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic 2

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic 3

Solutions for Deforestation facts and figures infographic 4

Sources

  1. WWF. (n.d.). Tackling forest loss and damage. [online] Available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/tackling-forest-loss-and-damage.
  2. The World Counts. (2014). How Can We Stop Deforestation? [online] Available at: https://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/How-Can-We-Stop-Deforestation.
  3. nbsguidelines.info. (n.d.). NbS Guidelines | Nature-based Solutions to Climate Change | Key messages for decision makers in 2020 and beyond. [online] Available at: https://nbsguidelines.info [Accessed 4 Feb. 2021].
  4. Greenpeace (2016). Solutions to Deforestation. [online] Greenpeace USA. Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/solutions-to-deforestation/
  5. WWF. (n.d.). Tackling forest loss and damage. [online] Available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/tackling-forest-loss-and-damage.
  6. Greenpeace (2016). Solutions to Deforestation. [online] Greenpeace USA. Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/solutions-to-deforestation/
  7. Yale E360. (n.d.). Conflicting Data: How Fast Is the World Losing its Forests? [online] Available at: https://e360.yale.edu/features/conflicting-data-how-fast-is-the-worlds-losing-its-forests#:~:text=It%20estimates%20the%20annual%20net.
  8. Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects. (n.d.). livescience.com. [online] Available at: https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html#:~:text=Today%2C%20most%20deforestation%20is%20happening.
  9. Cornered by PAs. (n.d.). Brief. [online] Available at: https://www.corneredbypas.com/brief.
  10. Greenpeace (2016). Solutions to Deforestation. [online] Greenpeace USA. Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/solutions-to-deforestation/
  11. Conserve Energy Future. (2016). 15+ Phenomenal Ways To Stop Deforestation and Protect Our Planet. [online] Available at: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/phenomenal-ways-to-stop-deforestation-and-protect-our-planet.php.
  12. Youmatter. (2019). Do you hear the planet’s call for help? Here are 5 steps to help stop deforestation. [online] Available at: https://youmatter.world/en/5-steps-to-stop-deforestation/.
  13. Panda.org. (2020). Unsustainable cattle ranching. [online] Available at: https://wwf.panda.org/discover/knowledge_hub/where_we_work/amazon/amazon_threats/unsustainable_cattle_ranching/
  14. Wenfa, X., Guangcui, D. and Sheng, Z. (2010). China’s Strategy and Financing For Forestry Sustainable Development. [online] . Available at: https://www.un.org/esa/forests/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/China_case_study.pdf [Accessed 4 Feb. 2021]
  15. Greenpeace (2016). Solutions to Deforestation. [online] Greenpeace USA. Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/solutions-to-deforestation/