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Climate Change: Our Impacts

To address climate change and its most acute impacts -- including extreme weather shifts, severe flooding, pest outbreaks and water scarcity -- the Rainforest Alliance works with communities and businesses to prevent deforestation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage.

Certified farms maintain healthy soils and decrease their energy, water and chemical use, while certified forestry enterprises employ reduced-impact logging techniques, designed to minimize disturbance to forest landscapes and maximize carbon storage. In the tourism field, Rainforest Alliance Verified businesses provide an effective alternative to deforestation and are reducing their carbon footprint by implementing a variety of sustainable practices.

Finally, through the establishment and validation/verification of carbon projects as well as assessments of the methodologies used to monitor these projects, we make it easier for forest communities to earn sustainable livelihoods and benefit economically from the natural resources that they are helping to conserve.

Certified Forestry Enterprises Increase Carbon Storage and Reduce Deforestation

FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified forestry enterprises implement many practices that reduce deforestation rates and mitigate climate change, such as retaining downed wood after logging and lengthening harvest rotations.

  • A study in Deramakot, Malaysia1, found that the carbon levels in above-ground vegetation on FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified forestland were higher than in conventional forests.
  • In Guatemala's Petén region, deforestation rates were 20 times lower on FSC-certified concessions than in adjacent protected reserves.

Certified Farms Cultivate a Climate-Friendly Approach

Rainforest Alliance Certified farms adopt practices that reduce deforestation, and they contribute to carbon storage by restricting the use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals, controlling erosion and limiting the burning of waste vegetation. In conjunction with our partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), we’ve developed standards for sustainable cattle ranching and the responsible production of biofuel crops. And with the SAN Climate Module, certified farms can now become verified for -- and market their compliance with -- additional climate-friendly criteria.

A Leader in Independent Validations/Verifications and Methodology Assessments

To date, the Rainforest Alliance has completed over 50 carbon-project validations/verifications in more than 20 countries -- from Brazil to Madagascar to Indonesia -- representing millions of acres of conserved forests and hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 in potential sequestered carbon or avoided emissions.

Shaping Climate Policy for the Benefit of Local Communities and Ecosystems

We are working to shape climate policy at the regional, national and international levels to ensure that biodiversity and ecosystems are conserved and that smallholders, indigenous groups and local communities participate in and benefit equitably from the decision-making process.

The Environmental Benefits of Our Work:

  1. Sam, Mannan, K. Kitayama, Y. F. Lee, A. Chung, A Radin and P. Lagan. “RIL for biodiversity conservation and carbon conservation – Deramakot forest shows positive conservation impacts of reduced impact logging.” ITTO tropical forest update 18/2, pp. 7-9. 2008.

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