Forest and Climate

When forests are destroyed, they release large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change.

Winning the fight against climate change

Forests have a critical role to play in combating global warming. And WWF's international Forest & Climate Programme has a strategy to win that battle. This includes:
  • ensuring that any new climate change deal provides incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and land degradation
  • assisting countries, especially developing countries, to develop national and regional approaches that tackle forest-based emissions and benefit local communities

Protect trees, reduce carbon emissions

Forests are the largest storehouse of carbon after the oceans. However, when forests are destroyed by activities such as logging and land conversion for agriculture, they release large quantities of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Reducing deforestation and forest degradation must be part of the solution to the global climate change problem.

Saving the Amazon forests

 / ©: WWF / Zig Koch
Aerial view of forest clearing to create grazing pasture for cattle. Amazon, Brazil.
© WWF / Zig Koch
Despite ongoing conservation efforts, the Amazon is losing on average 27,000km2 of forest cover each year from continued logging, mining and land conversion.
Further forest loss may trigger changes to the Amazon, including a reduction in rainfall and increased droughts. This will have a significant impact on the region's biodiversity and even global climate change.

To protect the Amazon, WWF is:

  • Developing national programmes for reducing emissions from deforestation
  • Promoting the responsible use of natural resources
  • Ensuring environmental and social standards for infrastructure development
  • Consolidating and expanding protected areas

Cloud and rain in the canopy of a tropical rainforest in the Amazon. South America rel=
Cloud and rain in the canopy of a tropical rainforest in the Amazon. South America
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

WWF Goal

    • By 2020, no net greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation

Facts & Figures

    • 12-15 million hectares of forest are lost each year
    • Deforestation is responsible for up to 20% of all carbon emissions globally
    • Tropical forests, where deforestation is most prevalent, holds more than 210 gigatonnes of carbon
    • 87% of global deforestation occurs in just 10 countries, with Brazil and Indonesia accounting for 51% of emissions from forest loss

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