Forest ecosystems are some of the most diverse, incredible and important on the planet. A global mosaic of tropical, sub-tropical, Mediterranean, temperate, montane and coniferous forests provides habitat for 80 per cent of Earth’s known terrestrial species. Billions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods and many of the products we consume in our daily lives are derived from their unique leaves, roots, fruits and barks. As well as storing huge amounts of carbon, forests absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. They also protect the world’s watersheds and help to generate the rainfall upon which crops and the food security of billions depend.
Despite their importance, forests are disappearing rapidly. About half of the world’s original forest-cover has already been lost. The pace of destruction is escalating: it is estimated that an area of forest the size of New York City is cut down every two days.
As a priority, our portfolio seeks to protect some of the planet’s most intact but severely threatened tropical rainforests. Despite covering less than two per cent of Earth’s surface, these are home to at least half of the planet’s terrestrial species and support the livelihoods of over a billion people. Many are being lost to industrial-scale logging, agriculture, mining, hydropower dams and the road and rail infrastructure that accompanies these activities.
We support groups committed to the survival of these important ecosystems and their inhabitants. Their work protects the biological and cultural diversity of forests; it challenges the unfettered expansion of destructive activities in forests – often made possible through corruption that undermines the land-rights of traditional forest communities; it supports forest custodians; and it restores life in degraded forests.
We focus on emerging threats, where early interventions can have a significant impact, and on regions that receive little conservation attention internationally. For this reason, the majority of our support goes to partners in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Melanesia. These regions are home to some of the world’s largest and most diverse rainforests.
- Protecting the biological and cultural diversity of forests
- Challenging destructive activity in forests
- Supporting forest custodians
- Restoring life in degraded forests