Zero Net Deforestation

We continue to lose forests, along with the endangered animals that live in them, at the rate of 36 football fields per minute. Big problems need bold targets, and so WWF is targeting zero net deforestation by 2020.

Why this deforestation target?

We aim to:

What does "Zero NET Deforestation" mean?

  • First, “Zero net deforestation” is not the same as "zero deforestation", which means no deforestation anywhere. Rather, it leaves room for change in the configuration of the land-use mosaic, provided the net quantity, quality and carbon density of forests is maintained.
  • Conserve as much of the world’s remaining natural forests as possible, to maximise the conservation of biodiversity and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Zero Net Deforestation by 2020 needs to be translated into a greenhouse gas emission reduction target. Countries should commit to reducing gross forest-based greenhouse gas emissions by at least 75% by 2020, with a view to eliminating nearly all human induced forest emissions by 2030.

 / ©:  WWF-Brasil / João Gonçalves
Ministers of 60 countries attending the CBD COP9 signed on to WWF's postcard calling for zero net deforestation by 2020.
© WWF-Brasil / João Gonçalves

Zero Net Deforestation is possible

Many countries have made efforts to stop forest loss, with some remarkable achievements.

Examples include the Amazon Regional Protected Area (ARPA) Programme, and the three-country Heart of Borneo initiative.

The Zero Deforestation Law – which was introduced by Paraguay in 2004, has dropped the rate of deforestation in Paraguay’s Atlantic Forests in the period 2005/06 by an incredible 85%.

How will we achieve Zero Net Deforestation?

Effective strategies will involve a range of measures.

What about forest degradation?

Avoiding forest degradation is just as important as stopping net deforestation. Often, forest degradation is a process whereby areas of natural forest are gradually transformed into degraded land or replaced by other land uses.

Sustainable forest management is a critical strategy to avoid “death by a thousand cuts” scenarios, where forests are progressively degraded to the point where they are vulnerable to fire, invasive species, encroachment or conversion to other land-uses.

Reversing deforestation can only be achieved with the support of public and private sector actors, all parts of the supply chain from producer to consumer and their financiers, and the local stakeholders in places threatened by deforestation.

It will also require strong collaboration across relevant international processes e.g. UNFCCC, CBD and UNFF.
  • Deforestation facts

    • 12-15 million hectares of forest are lost each year
    • Deforestation is responsible for 15% of all greenhouse gas 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
    • Forests contain the vast majority of the world's terrestrial biodiversity. Over the last 35 years we lost 30% of the planet’s biodiversity.

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