Tropical Forests

Deforestation is a major cause of global warming and habitat loss, and many common consumer products contribute to it. Our experts explain how UCS is fighting deforestation—and how you can help.


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Latest Tropical Forests Posts

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Photo: Paulo Brando

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in 2016: the Lazy Dragon Woke Up

Paulo Moutinho, Ph.D., and Raissa Guerra, Ph.D., , UCS

In Brazil, deforestation in the Amazon has been compared to a starved dragon. However, this dragon has been under control in the past. Deforestation in the region declined 70% from 2005 (19,014 km2) to 2014 (5,012 km2) in response to different strategies described in the literature. But the monster was not killed, it was just taking a nap. Read more >

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Ending Tropical Deforestation: Have We Got Our Priorities Backwards?

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

In working to change the world, there’s always a need to keep asking ourselves whether we’re focusing on what’s most important. This certainly applies to the effort to end tropical deforestation, which is why I and my UCS colleagues have put a lot of emphasis on figuring out what causes—and in particular, which businesses—are the main drivers of deforestation. Unfortunately, a recent study indicates that that global corporations that have committed to ending the deforestation they cause, have got their priorities backwards. And it suggests that the NGO community—and that definitely includes me—may have had our priorities wrong too.

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Restoring U.S. Forests by Mid-Century

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

As both scientists (in many published papers) and political leaders (in the Paris Agreement) have now recognized, to stop global warming—to keep the global temperature from increasing indefinitely—we need to peak and then reduce emissions rapidly. We need to get our release of global warming pollution into the atmosphere, down to a level below the amount that carbon sequestration by the biosphere takes out of the atmosphere. This means that we have to work incredibly hard on two parallel tracks, simultaneously. On the one hand, cut pollution drastically. And on the other hand, regrow the biosphere. Read more >

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Cattle ranchers have cleared ecosystems, including the Amazon, the Chaco, the Chiquitano, and the Cerrado (pictured here) for expansion of cattle pasture. Photo: Jorge ba/Wikimedia

America’s Top Brands, Cattle, and Deforestation

, analyst, Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative

Along with the rest of the world, I was transfixed by the Olympics last month in Rio. Besides the athletic feats of strength and prowess, I found myself fascinated by drama surrounding the games. Read more >

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Peak Oil, Peak Coal, Peak Deforestation, Peak Emissions…. and Why They’re Not Nearly Enough

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

Recent data related to our global emissions of heat-trapping gases suggest that humanity may have reached a turning point, or even several. We may be moving from increasing emissions, to peaking and starting to decline. We could be close to such peaks, or even have passed it, for several of the main sources of greenhouse gases, including coal and deforestation—perhaps even for humanity’s total emissions.

If so, this would be a momentous occasion, reversing centuries of growing global warming pollution. But before we start celebrating, we should realize that peaking is not nearly enough.

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