Climate Change / Deforestation

Fighting deforestation from day one…

For more than two decades, the Rainforest Alliance has been working to stop deforestation and reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Avoiding, averting and just plain stopping deforestation — these are among the core reasons the organization was founded!

We didn’t call it REDD back then — we called it forest conservation. Boycotts weren’t saving the rainforest and we needed a solution so practical it was radical. Enter certification standards and the green market…

While there is great buzz around REDD, at its root reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation is a fight against the causes of deforestation. And this is not new to the Rainforest Alliance — we’ve focused on this all along.


What’s new is using a market mechanism to pay for forest conservation linked to carbon currency. While the math formulas that convert soil carbon into emissions reductions can be confusing, REDD itself doesn’t need to mystify us.

Promoting responsible management with strong restrictions on the conversion of natural ecosystems is at the heart of Sustainable Agriculture Network and Forest Stewardship Council standards. Additions to the sustainable agriculture standard have kept pace with oil palm, soy, sugar cane, and cattle — other drivers of deforestation. And we aim to stay current, with new and better information on the extent to which agricultural expansion and irresponsible logging drives deforestation.

In returning to our “Behind the Scenes” column (I took a short break over the summer), I thought we’d review these causal factors of deforestation. Our friends at the Global Canopy Programme have done just that through their Forest Footprint Disclosure Project in a great analysis of the heavy forest footprint of certain commodities: beef, soy, oil palm, etc.

When we’re talking about REDD, we’re really talking about arresting the destructive force of unsustainable commodity production. Read the Forest Footprints report to learn more.

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