Disappearing Forests

by Luke Porter on November 20, 2015 - 6:17pm


The ENGO World Wildlife Fund(WWF) has released a report detailing worldwide deforestation and how the planet’s forests will be doing over the next 15 years. The report outlined the 10 areas in which the highest rates of deforestation will occur and broke down what the drivers of that deforestation would be. The Amazon’s forests will be hardest hit with vast swaths of its forest taken down; somewhere in the range of between 23 and 48 million hectares lost over the next 15 years. The main causes of deforestation over that time scale (both for the Amazon and much of the rest of the top ten list) will be small and large scale farming, and livestock rearing; also of concern will be infrastructure development and unsustainable logging practices.

The WWF report calls for increased cooperation among the traditional drivers of deforestation hoping that new eco-friendly standards such as ‘deforestation-free’, and ‘wildlife-friendly’ will emerge. They even go so far as to hint at payments for keeping ecosystem services intact (a great step towards adaptive management) but do not go into detail. Their goal is to achieve Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) by the year 2020. They acknowledge that this will not be an easy task and call for increased communication and cooperation between relevant partners and stakeholders.

Whether or not this is achievable is a matter for debate, but the ambitious plans of the WWF showcase how much impact NGO and ENGOs can have, and how much influence they can assert over corporations and possibly even governments (though the article doesn’t mention it, it would seem government cooperation would be essential for this plan). This also helps to highlight the decreasing roll that the state is playing when it comes to managing resources, especially in places where governance systems aren’t as strong or effective.

About the author

College Graduate, Katimavik Alumni and currently enrolled in the Environmental Governance program at the University of Guelph. I am dedicated to encouraging cycling culture, environmental sustainability and a shift towards renewable forms of energy.