Communities

We Can Do Better Together

What's at Stake

Communities around the world depend on strong forests for clean air, safe water, and climate stability. People have already destroyed or degraded 50 percent of the world's forests. Those that remain are threatened by the destructive cycle of global inequity, rural poverty, and landscape degradation. 

Woman and children gathering firewood in Butare, Rwanda

Woman and children gathering firewood in Butare, Rwanda

Photo credit: Jungwon Kim

Rural Poverty Drives Deforestation

Around the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than US $1.25 a day. Economic desperation drives many communities to clear forests for subsistence agriculture, cut down trees for firewood, and sell illegally harvested timber at prices far below the wood’s real value. Yet the paltry income this generates is not enough to break the cycle of poverty.

Wilson Shiguango, president of the Kichwa Wamani community in the Napo region of the Ecuadorian Amazon

Wilson Shiguango, president of the Kichwa Wamani community in the Napo region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Rainforest Alliance partnered with his community to implement sustainable agroforestry, strengthen its naranjilla production, and improve its access to national markets.

Photo credit: Jungwon Kim

The Importance of Indigenous Land Rights

An astonishing 45 million+ acres of forest—the equivalent of 50 soccer fields per minute—are destroyed every year. Although experts have offered compelling evidence that securing land rights for indigenous forest communities leads to stronger, healthier forests, the majority of these communities still lack the legal rights to their ancestral lands.

Our Work

Our Work in Communities

The economic security and well-being of farming and forest communities are central to our long-term vision of a rebalanced Earth. That's why we've embedded concrete strategies to support the environmental, economic, and social health of rural communities around the world into our training and certification programs.

Students at El Porvenir school celebrate Earth Day 2015 by planting a tree in the schoolyard.

Students at El Porvenir school celebrate Earth Day 2015 by planting a tree in the schoolyard.

Photo credit: Sergio Izquierdo

Educating Tomorrow's Conservationists

The children of El Porvenir, a community of 200 families just outside Guatemala’s Tikal National Park, are learning about the importance of conserving forests from their dedicated teacher, one of many who have participated in the Rainforest Alliance's education training program, which supports teachers in implementing our conservation and climate-related school curricula.

Learn more about how we are working to achieve our mission.
 
Our Impact

Our Impact

Supporting the economic and social health of rural communities is central to our mission. Our field results, backed by independent studies, demonstrate that sustainable livelihood opportunities can stop the destructive cycle of poverty and deforestation—and foster a culture of conservation.

amount earned by indigenous and forest communities

US $1.5 million

earned by our Madre de Dios partner communities

Earnings by our Madre de Dios partner communities from 2012 to 2015

Building a Sustainable Forest Economy

Nearly 15,000 people are directly employed by the Brazil nut industry in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon. We've trained indigenous communities throughout the region in sustainable harvesting and processing methods that enabled them to dramatically increase revenues.

Increase in net income for certified farms in Côte d'Ivoire

291% increase in net income

on certified farms in Côte d'Ivoire

In a study of Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and non-certified control farms, scientists found the average net income for certified farms in Côte d'Ivoire to be US $403, as compared to $113 per hectare on non-certified farms.
Source: 2012 third-party study commissioned by the Rainforest Alliance

Boosting Income in Rural Communities

In a study of Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and noncertified control farms, scientists found the average net income for certified farms in Côte d'Ivoire to be US $403, as compared to $113 per hectare on noncertified farms.

Learn more ways we are achieving real results.
 
Get Involved

Get Involved

Join us to help rebalance the earth.

Gorilla in the forest

The world's second largest tropical rainforest is home to endangered gorillas. Community forestry is essential to the future of this region.

José Andrés of San Juan de Cheni - photo by David Dudenhoefer

We're rebuilding lives and restoring forests—while working to create sustainable livelihoods for forest-dependent communities all over the world.

Communities

Forest communities are on the front lines of the fight against climate change.