The importance of forests for climate change mitigation and species conservation, as water stores and oxygen producers, soil protectors and humus providers, is well known. However, over 13 million hectares of forest are lost each year, mainly in the tropics.
This has disastrous consequences, not only for the environment but also for people who live in and from forests. We must therefore aim to achieve 'zero net deforestation' worldwide: for every hectare of forest which disappears, there must be compensation elsewhere. One way of achieving this is to designate protected areas. Yet we must also learn to value and utilise our forest resources: the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly or indirectly on forests and their products.
This will require sustainable measures which maintain our forests- biodiversity and ecological functionality, while ensuring maximum benefit-sharing for local people.
WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature