Deforestation & forest degradation | WWF
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Deforestation & forest degradation

Deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion of ecosystems, such as savannahs, are key drivers of habitat destruction, biodiversity loss and the climate emergency.
This destruction is a lot closer to home than we think. It’s in our homes. 

Forest land is frequently cleared or degraded to make way for crops like palm oil and soy, which are exported to the EU and found in many products on our supermarket shelves. The most recent data indicates that the EU is responsible for at least 10% of forest destruction worldwide.

Without strict rules to make sure such products are sustainable, the EU is contributing to the loss of the world’s rainforests, savannahs and wetlands. 

The EU’s deforestation and nature destruction footprint is on the European Commission’s agenda: It has committed to put forward new EU legislation to limit the risk of products linked to global deforestation being placed on the European market, and is expected to publish its proposal this year. 

What is WWF doing?


WWF has long advocated for an EU law to get deforestation and nature destruction out of the EU’s supply chains and off citizens’ plates.To avoid shifting the destruction of nature to other vital natural habitats, this law must also protect other ecosystems, such as grasslands, savannahs and wetlands, as well as forests. It must go way beyond voluntary measures and also ensure that the production of EU imports has not led to human rights violations. Finally, it is essential that this law also apply to the finance sector to stop investments in Europe from adding fuel to the fires often used to make space for industrial agriculture. 

In 2020, WWF launched the #Together4Forests campaign together with Greenpeace, ClientEarth, Conservation International and the Environmental Investigation Agency. So far, the campaign has been supported by more than one million citizens from across Europe and beyond, who used the campaign to participate in the Commission's public consultation on deforestation. Through the campaign, they called for a new ambitious EU law to keep products linked to deforestation and nature destruction off the European market, and ensure that the production of such commodities (such as beef, soy for animal feed, cocoa, coffee and palm oil) has not led to human rights violations, including the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. 

Latest report

© WWF

An area the size of Morocco lost to deforestation in a decade


The Deforestation fronts: Drivers and responses in a changing world report, published in January 2021, analysed 24 “deforestation fronts”, or hotspots, across 29 countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa and found that more than 43 million hectares of forest were lost in these areas over a 13-year period. 

Rampant deforestation in the tropics and subtropics may seem a world away, but Europe’s rising demand for products like beef, soy, cocoa and palm oil is adding fuel to the fire. The EU's new deforestation law must be strong, ambitious, and ensure the EU plays its part in protecting the world’s forests and other natural habitats, such as grasslands and wetlands.