Measuring the Environmental Impacts of Our Work
Irresponsible farming and forestry practices have direct and immediate consequences, economic and environmental. Approximately 40 percent of the global economy is based on biological products and processes1 -- particularly farming and logging -- making it vital to maintain the integrity and health of our forests. Extreme weather becomes more damaging when there are no trees to buffer the heavy downpours and high winds that accompany severe meteorological events. And species disappear more rapidly when they lose forest habitat and consume water that has been contaminated by agrochemical runoff.
Yet there are reasons for hope. More than 12 percent of the world’s land area is considered protected.2 According to the Forest Stewardship Council, more than 412 million acres3 (nearly 167 million hectares) of forest are under sustainable management. And there are an estimated 3.7 billion acres (1.5 billion hectares) of lost or degraded forestlands worldwide that could potentially be restored.4
The growing demand for responsibly produced forest and agricultural goods -- like the wood, coffee, fruit, tea and paper we use every day -- offers producers a powerful incentive to protect the Earth’s natural resources. By independently certifying that these items are being produced sustainably, we align market forces with global conservation goals. Rainforest Alliance Verified tourism businesses not only serve as engines of local economic development but also provide an alternative to deforestation. The new methods we are developing to assess the impacts of our work show that these businesses are good neighbors to the ecosystems in which they operate.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Biodiversity, http://www.unep.org/Themes/Biodiversity/About/index.asp
As of October 12, 2012, http://ic.fsc.org/index.htm
IUCN, Facts & Figures, http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/forest/iyf/facts_and_figure/