Deforestation Fronts | WWF
© Marizilda Cruppe / WWF-UK

Deforestation Fronts

Deforestation: a threat to people and nature
From the air we breathe to the wood we use, forests are essential to our lives. They’re home to more than half of the world’s land-based species, and globally, over 1 billion people live in and around forests and rely on it for food, shelter and livelihoods. After oceans, forests are the largest storehouses of carbon. But we're losing forests at an alarming rate. 

Two-thirds of global forest cover loss is occuring mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics, where vast clusters of deforestation hotspots are destroying the important ecosystem services forests provide. 

Over 43 million hectares, an area roughly the size of Morocco, was lost in these 'deforestation fronts' between 2004 and 2017.

Deforestation puts human health and the health of our planet at risk. From policymakers to companies to consumers, urgent action is needed to halt forest loss.

We can’t protect nature and wildlife, safeguard human health and tackle the climate crisis unless we STOP deforestation and change how we manage forests! #DeforestationFronts

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Explore the Deforestation Fronts



What is causing this deforestation?
Agriculture is the leading driver of deforestation globally. A growing global population and increased food consumption has led to many forests being converted into farms. The type of agriculture varies, but includes predominantly commercial agriculture, smallholder farming and cattle ranching in Latin America; subsistence and smallholder commercial farming in sub-Saharan Africa; and commercial agriculture and vast plantations in Southeast Asia.

Increased public and private sector collaboration and alignment of efforts to address deforestation and conversion are an important step to increasing sustainable food production and local peoples' livelihoods while reducing the environmental impacts of production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Deforestation is also being driven by logging, human migration and population increases, extractive industries (mining, oil and gas), transport and infrastructure projects and expanding towns and cities. The exact causes of deforestation change over time, and vary from region to region. These regional differences highlight the need for place-based solutions that take specific local contexts into account.

Learn more about the fronts

© Peter Caton / WWF-UK

WWF report: COVID-19 could give rise to radical change needed to stop deforestation once and for all

New report reveals an area roughly the size of California, totaling 43 million hectares, was lost to deforestation in just over a decade.

Read the press release