Deforestation & forest degradation | WWF

Deforestation & forest degradation

Forests in Europe are being cut down. This is causing irreversible biodiversity loss and contributing to climate change.
With smarter management of forests and land we can meet the global demand for food and forest products without losing more forests by 2030. But we need to act now.

Between 1990 and 2008 an area of global tropical forest the size of Portugal vanished to produce commodities for the EU, like palm oil, soy and beef. The EU needs to address how its consumption affects the environment and propose an EU Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation by 2018. The European Council and Parliament support tackling the EU’s role in deforestation.


What is WWF doing?

WWF believes an EU Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation is urgent. It will provide the private sector with smart legislation and incentives that will create a fair and level playing field. It will also support ongoing efforts to tackle unsustainable practices and improve governance in countries exporting to the EU.

In cooperation with other NGOs, WWF advocates for the EU to reduce its negative impact abroad and develop measures for production and consumption beyond forest ecosystems. WWF believes it is also important that countries enact their own national laws on this


Policy timeline


The European Commission ran a six-week open public consultation on "Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation" in January/February 2019.”
WWF has called for an EU Action Plan to eliminate the EU’s impact on forests and other natural ecosystems, and to support global efforts to protect and restore them.

Such a plan should include new legislation to ensure that neither products placed on the EU market, nor the financial sector, cause negative environmental and social impacts like deforestation, conversion, forest ecosystem degradation or human rights abuses.

Such laws would help to implement international commitments to halt deforestation by 2020 (one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals), and to limit global temperature rise  to 1.5°C as set by the Paris Agreement.
See WWF's responses to the public consultation and additional information submitted.


Anke Schulmeister - Oldenhove
Senior Forest Policy Officer
+32 2 740 09 22