The Power of Preservation: How Protecting Forests Can Help Tackle Climate Change & Achieve Net-Zero
Updated: Feb 18
Forests play a vital role in our planet's health, and their protection is essential for meeting global climate goals. Forests act as natural carbon sinks, sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis. They also release oxygen, which is essential for human and animal life. Forests also help regulate the water cycle, prevent soil erosion, and provide habitat for countless species of plants and animals.
Despite their importance, forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Deforestation is caused by a variety of factors, but the leading cause is agriculture. As global demand for food continues to rise, more forests are being cleared to make way for crops and livestock.
Other drivers of deforestation include logging, mining, and urbanisation. Deforestation is responsible for roughly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a major contributor to climate change.
The good news is that forest conservation can provide a significant portion of the emissions reductions needed to tackle climate change.
Nature-based solutions, such as forest conservation, can provide up to 37% of the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Forest conservation is one of the most cost-effective and immediate solutions to climate change, while also protecting biodiversity and supporting local livelihoods.
To effectively protect forests, large-scale approaches are needed. Jurisdictional/landscape approaches bring together stakeholders to develop an integrated approach to reduce deforestation across a large area, such as a country or region. By taking a landscape-scale approach, conservation efforts can maximize carbon sequestration while also supporting local communities and preserving forest ecosystems.
One example of a large-scale forest conservation initiative is the LEAF Coalition, which aims to mobilise more than $1 billion of public and private funding to halt deforestation at a national or state level. The LEAF Coalition is focusing on tropical and sub-tropical forests, which store more carbon and regenerate faster than other forest types. By prioritizing forest conservation in these regions, the LEAF Coalition can maximize the impact of its conservation efforts.
In addition to large-scale initiatives, individual action is also essential for forest conservation. By making more informed choices, such as consuming less, reducing packaging, eating less meat, and choosing responsibly produced wood products, individuals can help reduce demand for products that contribute to deforestation.
Ultimately, the protection of forests is essential for our planet's health and the well-being of human and animal life. By taking a collaborative approach and implementing large-scale solutions, we can work towards achieving net-zero emissions and a more sustainable future.