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

4 Reasons to Pay Attention to the Deadly Haze in Southeast Asia this Year

, analyst, Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative

Residents in Southeast Asia are currently being subjected to a heavy blanket of smoke and haze spreading across the region. The haze originates in large part from the burning of forests and peat soils in order to prepare land for agriculture, such as palm oil. But reading news reports and even seeing pictures cannot always convey the daily experience in the way that first-hand accounts can. Read more >

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Technology Makes Lighter Work of a Tough Job—SMART Ranger Patrolling

, UCS Science Network

As the temperature soars over 100 degrees, our ranger patrol in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Protected Forest is in full swing. A whining sound alerts us to a chainsaw operating in the distance. The team goes into action. AK-47s cocked and ready, the three rangers move forward circling a spot on a dry riverbank where timber is being illegally sawn. Read more >

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PepsiCo’s New Palm Oil Commitment: Transparency, Trust, and the Company You Keep

, policy analyst, Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative

Since starting our work on palm oil, UCS has taken a position that a company’s zero deforestation commitment needs to cover all of its operations, not just the products it sells or manufactures in the US. US consumers holding a company accountable for its global operations is not a new concept. The successful boycott of Nestlé in the US and Europe, which started in the late 1970’s, was the result of practices by that company in the developing world. Consumers not only want to buy products that don’t harm the planet but also want to buy products from companies they trust. Read more >

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Deforestation Has Decreased

, sr. scientist & dir., Climate Research and Analysis

In the last few years, there has been heartening news, based on new scientific data, about progress in reducing global deforestation. The IPCC, in its Fifth Assessment Report in 2014, reviewed all the previously published evidence and concluded that deforestation and the emissions of global warming pollution that it produces had dropped in recent years. The Global Carbon Project, an annual review of the planet’s carbon cycle and its implications for climate change, found the same trend in its 2014 assessment. Read more >

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Cleanup on Aisle 8: Why Supermarkets and Other Retail Stores Need to Clean Up Their Palm Oil

, analyst, Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative

9/15/2015 Update: Since the publication of this blog, Costco has updated their palm oil commitment. Their commitment now includes specific language around the protection of forests and goes beyond a RSPO-certified commitment. However, the timeline for compliance has been pushed to 2021. Importantly, Costco has also committed to no-burn policies and some level of traceability, though they do not specify if this traceability is to the plantation level.
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