What's at Stake
Droughts. Floods. Shorter growing seasons. Economic insecurity. Famine. For farmers and forest communities around the world, climate change poses daunting challenges—and disproportionately impacts poor rural communities who depend on the land to live. In today’s hyper-connected world, fighting climate change and building resilience to its impacts is urgent for us all.
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Forests, Agriculture, and Climate
Almost a quarter of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry, and other land use—with the main culprits being deforestation and forest degradation, along with livestock, poor soil management, and fertilizer application. Agriculture drives an estimated 75 percent of deforestation.
Research shows that certified farmers implement more sustainable practices that can help them adapt to and prepare for climate impacts. These practices can improve soil quality, conserve water, increase native vegetation and carbon storage—and all while increasing productivity on existing farmland.
More Trees and Ground Cover Mean More Carbon Stored
150 Tons of Carbon
per hectare stored in trees on Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms in Nicaragua, compared to 82 tons per hectare on non-certified farms*
These coffee farms in Nicaragua boast a high basal area, which means there is a considerable number of large and old trees, as well as a high percentage of ground cover—all of which increases carbon storage. Ground cover also provides wildlife habitat and helps control soil erosion.
*Based on the following study: Haggar, J., G. Soto, F. Casanoves, and E. de Melo Virginio (2017). Environmental-economic benefits and trade-offs on sustainably certified coffee farms. Ecological Indicators, 79: 330-337.
Shade Trees for Climate Resilience
20 Shade Trees Per Hectare
on Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa farms in Ghana, compared to 4-5 shade trees per hectare on non-certified farms*
Certain crops like cocoa and coffee grow beautifully under the shade of larger trees, which are key to climate-smart farming, in part because they help to stabilize temperature and moisture. These certified farms in Ghana increased the number of native trees over a five-year period to achieve 40 percent shade cover, while their non-certified counterparts tended to remove trees.
*Based on the following study Fenger NA, Bosselmann AS, Asare R, de Neergaard A. (2017). The impact of certification on the natural and financial capitals of Ghanaian cocoa farmers. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 41(2), 143-166. DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2016.1258606.
Our Work: Climate
The Rainforest Alliance has long worked to conserve tropical forests—a vital defense against climate change—by partnering with forest communities on improved land management practices. We also train farmers in climate-smart agriculture methods, helping them to adapt to current climate impacts and prepare for future challenges. All our work focuses on protecting forests and land in ways that strengthen local livelihoods.
What Is Climate-Smart Agriculture?
Why Our Forests Are Burning
What Is Regenerative Agriculture?
All resources for Climate
Why Do We Need Rainforests?
No matter where you live, you need rainforests. Why? They help purify the air we breathe. They send vapor into the air, making it rain—not just locally but thousands of miles away. Rainforests are great allies in the fight to slow climate change, too, as they absorb vast quantities of human-made carbon emissions. Rainforest plants provide the basis for medicines that treat everything from toothaches to childhood leukemia. Rainforests are also home to millions of Indigenous and local peoples who live in harmony with nature.
Can We Grow Food in Harmony with Nature?
What if farming not only fed people, it also nourished the land? With regenerative agriculture practices, farming can do just that. Planting native trees and shrubs, for example, improves soil fertility; improving soil fertility makes crops more productive and resistant to pests; eventually, pesticides can be eliminated.
Our Integrated Pest Management & Pesticide Approach
What can be done to reduce this reliance on pesticides and the negative consequences of pesticide use? A practical and cost-effective answer is integrated pest management (IPM).
Helping Cocoa Farmers Build Resilience to Climate Change in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
In April 2021, nine days of heavy rains devastated one cocoa-growing community in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Sadly, extreme weather events like this are a constant threat for millions of smallholder cocoa farmers across the entire country. The cause: climate change.
COP 27: Everything You Need to Know about the UN Climate Change Negotiations
Leila Yassin, the Rainforest Alliance’s global advocacy manager for nature, demystifies the climate change negotiations taking place at this year’s COP conference.
Climate Change Mitigation
As the effects of climate change manifest around the world, the need for action grows more urgent. With 35 years of experience in sustainable agriculture and forest management, the Rainforest Alliance... View more