/ ©: WWF / Simon Rawles

Forests for Life

WWF takes a solutions-oriented, integrated and local to global approach that seeks synergies with relevant stakeholders to influence drivers of deforestation and degradation.


WWF's work is geared toward halting deforestation and forest degradation around the world, from rainforests to temperate forests. Tough assignment? With your help, we can make it happen.

Forests for a Living Planet

The planet's lungs. Home to people and wildlife. Engines of green economies. Forests are essential to life on Earth. They are home to amazing animals and plants – almost nine out of ten species found on land live in forests. They lock up vast amounts of carbon and release oxygen. Forests make rainfall and filter freshwater. They provide substinence, fuelwood and medicines.

Forests have been at the heart of WWF’s work for half a century, and we are proud of our accomplishments to protect these amazing ecosystems, the biodiveristy that they harbor, and the communities that have called these forests homes for centuries.

We’ve fought for the creation of national parks and other protected areas, helped bring more attention to responsible harvesting and trade of timber products and have helped increase transparency and continual improvement in forest markets; and we’re working to tackle new threats, like the destruction of forests for bioenergy.

There's much to celebrate. But forests still face major threats. As more wood is used for energy, more land is cleared for agriculture, new roads bring settlers and industry beyond today frontiers and climate change causes extreme weather events, forests will come under pressure like never before.

Forests for Life

WWF combines cutting edge science, new perspectives from partners and our decades of on-the-ground experience to help tackle some of the biggest challenges and stickiest issues in conservation.

We know no organization can save forests alone.

That's why we work in close cooperation and coordination with other stakeholders to trigger new thinking and innovative solutions to tackle the vast resource challenges facing a world of over seven billion people. 

WWF advocates Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) by 2020 as a global target that reflects the scale and urgency with which threats to the world’s forests and climate need to be tackled.

Three key components are involved in achieving WWF's targets and addressing pressures on forest ecosystems:

It is critical to create enabling conditions for landscapes where nature and forest ecosystem services are valued and conserved, while the aspirations of local populations are met. WWF's work involves analysis to identify places most at risk of deforestation, what will drive this and development of locally appropriate strategies to prevent forest loss.

Forest Sector Transformation– Improved stewardship of production forests and wiser use of forest products to help meet humanity's needs while limiting its global footprint
Responsible forest management can help increase the value of standing forests and protect them from illegal logging, encroachment or conversion to farmland. Forest products should have a low manufacturing footprint and come from well-managed forests that aren’t being degraded or converted.

Wood is a valuable resource that can often be produced with less energy and pollution than alternatives made from concrete, steel or plastic, but wood is not automatically a low footprint product. WWF is working to promote efficiencies within the forest industry and new technologies that mean more can be produced with less impact on forests.

– REDD+ makes a decisive contribution towards achieving ZNDD in WWF priority places, in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Various measures aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) have increased the world’s interest in forest conservation and have potential to make a significant contribution towards halting deforestation. REDD+ has a number of mechanisms in place to increase investments in forests and has brought new recognition of the value of standing forests to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD)

Forests' full potential will only be realized if deforestation and forest degradation is stopped. WWF advocates ZNDD by 2020 as a target that reflects the scale and urgency with which threats to the world’s forests and climate need to be tackled. Achieving ZNDD will stem the depletion of forest-based biodiversity and ecosystem services, and associated greenhouse gas emissions. It addresses many targets of the Millenium Development Goals, Convention on Biological Diversity and UN Framework on Climate Change. 

ZNDD provides some flexibility and it is not quite the same as "zero deforestation", which means no forest clearing anywhere. Rather, it leaves room for change in the configuration of the land-use mosaic (for example, when local communities clear some forest for agriculture) provided the net quantity, quality and carbon density of forests is maintained. 
 
In advocacting ZNDD, WWF stresses that most natural forest should be retained – the annual rate of loss of natural or semi-natural forests should be reduced to zero; and any gross loss or degradation of pristine natural forests would need to be offset by an equivalent area of socially and environmentally sound forest restoration.

How can you help

  • Help support sustainable forestry. Buy FSC-certified 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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