Forest conservation

WWF has been involved in forest conversation since its launch 50 years ago. Today it is involved in projects around the world to protect these unique ecosystems.

Rio Pinquen, Manu National Park, Amazon Rainforest, Peru.


WWF's work

Sustainable forestry can help tackle serious issues such as deforestation, WWF's work to protect forests focuses on 4 key areas: forest certification, tackling illegal logging, trade reform, and protected areas.

WWF recognises that communities are a vital cog in ensuring sustainable forest management, it therefore works closely to help people manage forest resources, supporting local economies and securing forest ecosystems.

 / ©: Noy Promsouvanh / WWF Laos
WWF team consults with local village chiefs on a sustainable forests project.
© Noy Promsouvanh / WWF Laos

Forest Certification

Forest certification is widely seen as the most important initiative of the last decade to promote better forest management. Responsible forest management is a key component of WWF’s vision for a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Illegal logging

WWF's work to address illegal logging aims to tackle the problem on a range of fronts, from the forest floor to the aisles of furniture stores. This includes partnerships with leading retailers and the timber industry and work with legislators and regulators to establish appropriate licensing systems such as the European Union's Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).

Trade reform

WWF aims to use the global marketplace as a force to save the world’s valuable and threatened forests through its Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN).

By linking together suppliers, producers and purchasers from across the forest industry supply chain, the GFTN works to eliminate illegal logging by driving improvements in forest management and trade practices.

Protected areas

WWF works with its partners to lead the development of a global network of ecologically representative, efffectively managed and sustainably financed protected areas. The more forests which fall under protected areas, the better for the numerous species which rely on them.

Work consists of large scale conservation strategies, field projects in over 100 countries and advocacy and policy work.
FSC logo painted on sustainably harvested logs. Uzachi forest, Oaxaca, Mexico / ©: N.C. Turner / WWF
FSC logo painted on sustainably harvested logs. Uzachi forest, Oaxaca, Mexico
© N.C. Turner / WWF
 / ©: Alain Compost / WWF
Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing for oil palmplantation. Tesso Nilo Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© Alain Compost / WWF
 / ©: IKEA
Since 2002, Ikea and WWF have worked together in a global partnership in order to promote responsible forestry in priority regions around the world.
 / ©: WWF / Frédy Mercay
The Sumatran tiger is one of many species living in Indonesia's recently established protected areas.
© WWF / Frédy Mercay

Working in partnership

WWF understands that to ensure forest conservation is successful a range of partnerships are essential. This includes working with logging companies, manufacturers, retailers and trade bodies. It involves developing relationships with governments and regulatory bodies and communicating with the final consumers of forest products.

However, just as important as these relationships is a partnership with local communities which live in or the near the forest and depend on it for their livelihoods. Ensuring that traditional harvesting methods are sustainable is in the interests of all concerned parties, so WWF seeks partnerships with local community groups to help them protect their forest.

Protecting the Atlantic Forests

The Atlantic Forest stretches from northeast Brazil into northeast Argentina and eastern Paraguay. Although it now covers just 7% of its former range, it is still one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, second only to the Amazon.

WWF has adopted an integrated approach to address the threats facing the Atlantic Forest, including logging and agricultural expansion. WWF works with governments in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina to encourage forest conservation and better management of protected areas. Individual projects focus on smaller areas or specific species.

For example:

How you can help

  • Help support sustainable forestry! Only buy FSC wood and wood products.
  • Choose recyled! Don't help flush the world's forests away, choose recycled paper and tissue products.
  • Save paper! We use 1 million tonnes of paper every day. Think about how you could use less paper.
  • Save the Amazon! Buy a special gift for someone and help preserve the world's largest rainforest.
  • Spread the word! Share this information with others via social networking sites.

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Timeline: key events in forest conservation

    • 1975: WWF's first tropical rainforest campaign, targeting forests in Central and West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America
    • 1989: SmartWood became the world's first independent forestry certifier.
    • 1991: WWF, IUCN and UNEP jointly publish Caring for the Earth - a Strategy for Sustainable Living
    • 1993: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) established by WWF and other organizations.
    • 1995: WWF sets a target of 10% of forests in protected areas by 2000
    • 2000: 480m ha of forest is covered by protected areas, equivalent to 12% of forests.
    • 2006: Total number of FSC-certified hectares exceeds 68m ha, with more than 10,000 FSC certified products available worldwide.
    • 2007: REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is introduced at the global climate negotiations at the UNFCCC in Bali.
    • 2011: UN sets International Year of the Forest
  • logo / ©: WWF

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