Deforestation & forest degradation | WWF
© Simon de Trey White / WWF-UK

Deforestation & forest degradation

Forests across the world 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.

Deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion of ecosystems (such as savannahs) are key drivers of the climate emergency, and are also known to cause other severe environmental and social impacts.

EU consumption is a key driver not only of deforestation but also of the destruction of other ecosystems around the world, linked to commodities such as soy, palm oil, cocoa or meat, of which the EU is a top importer - it accounts for as much as 36% of all global imports of crop and livestock products associated with deforestation.

The EU needs to address how its consumption affects the environment and propose an EU Action Plan on deforestation and forest degradation. Both European Council and Parliament support tackling the EU’s role in deforestation.


What WWF is doing?

WWF believes an EU Action Plan on deforestation and [AS1] forest degradation is urgent to eliminate the EU’s impact on forests and other natural ecosystems around the world, and to support global efforts to protect and restore them.

We need powerful EU legislation to ensure that no product linked to deforestation or ecosystem destruction is allowed to enter the EU market, and we also need to support producer countries to address the challenges and drivers. 

Such measures 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.


© / Anup Shah / WWF

In January/February 2019, the European Commission ran a six-week open public consultation on "Stepping up EU Action against Deforestation and Forest Degradation".

WWF has called for an EU Action Plan to 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.