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Why Stopping Deforestation Is Our Best Defense Against Climate Change

Photo: Courtesy of Liam Pozz

The world recently witnessed the stark reality of multiple severe, ongoing biodiversity crises. From fires blazing through the Amazon to a recent study revealing the immense decline of North America’s bird populations over the last 50 years, we’ve had to face the fact that ecosystems are under immense threat around the world. 

While these ecological tragedies are a passing trend in the media, their common denominator is a persistent threat: the climate crisis.

Both directly and indirectly, climate change plays a part in tragedies like these. Unfortunately, harmful anthropogenic influence is bringing the world to a rapidly approaching and irreversible tipping point. 

In fact, Earth is facing such immense change that scientists have declared the current era the “Anthropocene,” a geologic period in which humans spur enormous, permanent changes in the planet’s geography, climate, and ecosystems. Included in that crisis is a level of biodiversity loss high enough to merit the name “The Sixth Mass Extinction.”

Activities like over-hunting, poaching, and the bushmeat trade are driving the world’s most threatened species to extinction. Fossil fuel use, unsustainable agriculture, land development, logging, and mining, among many other human-driven actions, are destabilizing the planet’s climate. And with most of these processes, the first and most devastating step is deforestation. 

Losing a valuable asset

Deforestation is especially detrimental to the climate. Clearing forests not only releases carbon into the atmosphere, it also removes trees that filter carbon from the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases increase global temperatures and climatic unpredictability. 

In this way, deforestation is a triple threat to our planet. It destroys homes for wildlife, increases the rate of climate change, and reduces Earth’s resilience against the climate crisis. 

For decades, Rainforest Trust’s sole mission has been to take the first step in preventing these tragedies by protecting the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through partnerships and community engagement. Creating protected areas is the best way to prevent deforestation and ensure a future for humans and other species. 

On every project, Rainforest Trust works with local partners and communities. Their intimate knowledge and expertise of the land helps ensure sustainability over the long term. 

Both the Rainforest Trust team and those on the ground know the science behind these protected areas and understand that, especially in the current era, forests need protection — for biodiversity, for vital ecosystem services like clean water, and for our climate.

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