It certainly sounds like good news: New research from Nature shows that there are just over 3 trillion trees worldwide—that’s eight times more than previous estimates, which were based on satellite pictures.
Yet there’s still plenty to fret about: According to a study by the University of Maryland (UMD) and Google for Global Forest Watch, 45 million hectares of trees—an area twice the size of Portugal—were lost in 2014 alone. Since large-scale deforestation began, a full half of the world’s trees have been lost, and deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
New deforestation hotspots include the Mekong River delta, West Africa, the Gran Chaco region of South America and Madagascar. The countries with the highest deforestation rates in the world are Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Uruguay, Paraguay, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Vietnam and Malaysia. Growing demand for rubber and palm oil, the expansion of soy production and livestock farming are all major drivers of deforestation.
At the Rainforest Alliance, we know that the best way to keep forests standing is to use them wisely. To that end, we work with everyone from large corporations to forest-based communities to ensure that logging is conducted responsibly, so that ecosystems are protected and harvested areas are reforested. The Rainforest Alliance is one of the founders of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the most respected forestry standard-setter in the world. As the largest FSC-accredited certifier, we’ve certified the greatest number of community and indigenous operations to FSC standards.
Forests are essential to the survival of life on Earth: they provide oxygen and drinking water and they stabilize microclimates and weather patterns. Some of the world’s poorest communities depend on forests to live, and forests are home to more than half the world’s species of wildlife. That’s why we remain committed to working with foresters, farmers, tourism enterprises, local communities, businesses and consumers to create a world where people and the planet prosper together.
Find out more about our work in forestry.