Causes of Deforestation • Forests

Forests

Worldwide, deforestation and conversion of land accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The destruction and degradation of tropical rainforests driven by industrial agriculture is linked to human rights abuses, displacement of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and destruction of critical species habitat. Intact forests are foundational to the cultures, livelihoods and spiritual well-being of hundreds of millions of people; they regulate the climate locally and globally; and they are the planet’s immune system, as rich biodiversity and dynamic, living ecosystems guard against the release of pandemic diseases.

Consequently, deforestation is at the center of some of the planet’s most urgent, overlapping crises: Increasingly intense natural disasters, unprecedented species loss, and an epidemic of violence against land and environmental defenders. There is no way to address the climate crisis without protecting the world’s last standing forests. Friends of the Earth’s International Forests program works to address the root causes of forest destruction and the marginalization of forest-dwelling communities. Our campaign on land grabs, forests & finance pressures the world’s largest financial institutions to “defund deforestation;” advances legislative and regulatory solutions; and seeks to amplify the voices and struggles of frontline environmental human rights defenders.

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Latest News See All
Legislators, Advocates Respond to Gov. Hochul’s Veto of The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act

Vetoing this bill is a missed opportunity and a failure to take leadership on a critical issue that affects every New Yorker.

Friends of the Earth groups denounce recent case of intimidation by Astra Agro Lestari, call for immediate de-escalation

Friends of the Earth groups strongly denounce the most recent instance of intimidation by Astra Agro Lestari (AAL) against community members who are calling for the return of their land taken by the company without consent.

Friends of the Earth welcomes bipartisan legislation to curtail global deforestation and environmental crime 

This week, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) announced the introduction of the federal FOREST Act, an updated version of a bill first introduced in 2021.

Impact Stories See All
Holding Multinational Corporations Accountable
Holding Multinational Corporations Accountable

Getting six major multinationals to stand up and take action is no small thing, but there is still work to be done.

Protecting the Amazon from Rampant Deforestation
Protecting the Amazon from Rampant Deforestation

Studies suggest that cattle ranching and animal feed production is currently responsible for 80% of deforestation across the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Saving a National Forest
Saving a National Forest

More than 111,000 Friends of the Earth members demanded that the Forest Service permanently protect our National Forests from corporations

Latest Blog Posts See All
How New York Can Tackle Deforestation and Jumpstart A Historic Path To Climate Justice  
How New York Can Tackle Deforestation and Jumpstart A Historic Path To Climate Justice  

A powerful group of Indigenous leaders and climate justice organizers used the stage of New York’s Climate Week to build momentum for the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act.  

Indigenous Leader Faces Murder Attempt, Death Threats Amid Intensifying Land Grabbing and Deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado
Indigenous Leader Faces Murder Attempt, Death Threats Amid Intensifying Land Grabbing and Deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado

Agribusiness companies operating in the Brazilian Cerrado continue to drive violence, intimidation, and dispossession against Indigenous leaders, traditional communities and environmental human rights defenders

Urgent Action Needed to Prevent Escalating Conflict by Astra Agro Lestari in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Urgent Action Needed to Prevent Escalating Conflict by Astra Agro Lestari in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Rather than pursuing a peaceful resolution following these recent business suspensions, Astra Agro Lestari is fomenting further violence and intimidation.

Resources See All
  • NY Tropical Deforestation NGO sign-on letter
    Download
  • Land Grabbing and Ecocide: How Bunge, TIAA, and Harvard Fuel the Destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado
    Learn More
  • NY Deforestation Bill Fact Sheet
    Download