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You are here: Home / What we do / forests and biodiversity / Forests and biodiversity explained

Forests and biodiversity explained

forests campaign builds alliances

The problem

The world's forests are in trouble. Neoliberal policies, which promote privatization, increased exports and international trade liberalization have led to a massive increase in large-scale plantations used to produce and export timber and pulp. These policies have also increased the demand for meat, exotic timber and crops such as soy and palm. All of these pressures have resulted in the disappearance of half of the world’s forests. Deforestation continues at an alarming rate and the health of remaining forests is declining rapidly with a high rate of forest biodiversity loss.


Forests are not only amongst the most species-diverse habitats on earth, but they are also home to over a billion people whose livelihoods heavily depend on forest biodiversity. Forests, particularly tropical forests, store carbon and regulate our climate and thus are crucial in our fight against climate change.


The solution

We urgently need to halt the devastation caused by multinational corporations and their  large scale industries, monoculture plantations and destructive logging of tropical forests. We need to protect the forests as they provide the livelihoods of many local communities and indigenous peoples. False solutions, such as “carbon sink” schemes and other proposals that replace forests of biodiversity with tree plantations must be stopped. Conservation mechanisms that exclude or harm local communities also must be ended.


To conserve the forests that remain, it is crucial that we drastically reduce our energy consumption, paper use and the export of grains to feed cattle. 


What we’re doing

Friends of the Earth International member groups work with local communities to preserve forests and uphold community and indigenous rights to manage forest resources and secure sustainable livelihoods. We support forest-dwelling communities in upholding collective and traditional land rights. We identify and implement both traditional and innovative practices to restore and protect native species, secure access for communities and monitor protected areas. We develop and support alternative income generation projects, such as the small-scale trade in non-timber forest products, that ensure sustainable livelihoods that do not endanger biodiversity.  We especially engage women and young people in communities.


FoE groups monitor and resist logging companies and other actors that encroach on territories, by protecting community rights and broadcasting community testimonies through national and international media.  We resist and campaign against industrial large scale plantations, monoculture production and the commercialization and commodification of forests and biodiversity. We have specific campaigns on illegal logging, on monoculture plantations and on agrofuels.


FoE groups, especially in Africa,  expose how forest destruction  leads to desertification, support reforestation efforts in areas vulnerable to desertification, work with communities to advocate for national and international policies that address the environmental and social impacts of desertification, and ensuring appropriate mechanisms to combat desertification.




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