© Roger Leguen / WWF
Improved planning and better governance is a critical part of the equation in battling deforestation and forest degradation.

The world's most threatened forests are "squandered" due to social and political constraints that result in poor land optimization, leading to unsustainable forest management, inefficient livestock production, unregulated forest conversion, low-yield crop production, high-impact fuelwood collection and reluctance to use idle, yet suitable land. 

Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) is only possible under good governance, i.e. forests with secure land tenure, effective and well-enforced laws backed by policies that encourage sustainability, and empowered and committed local communities. 

Why is good governance important?

Preventing the squandering of forests requires a massive global mobilization of investment and support to improve governance. Many countries need to eradicate the corruption that turns a blind eye to illegal or destructive logging or allows ranchers, planters, or settlers to clear-fell and burn forests to acquire land. Governments need to promote sustainable land-use decisions that protect the environment while also regarding the rights and livelihood needs of rural and indigenous communities.

Better governance in countries where deforestation is highest, and renewed commitments by donors can help attract the investments needed to improve forestry and agriculture. Creating incentives to keep forests alive, and/or penalizing those who destroy them, is critical if we are to achieve ZNDD and cut carbon emissions.

REDD+ presents an opportunity to transform forest governance, legal frameworks, land use, trade chains and investment patterns to mitigate climate change, curb biodiversity loss and reduce poverty