Half the world’s forests have now disappeared and, according to the UN, a further 13 million hectares are lost every year. Even more has been converted from rich primary forest to monoculture plantations.
At the current rate of deforestation, the world’s rainforests could disappear in 100 years.
Deforestation accounts for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the biggest immediate threat to biodiversity.
But as well as being home to half of all endangered species, diverse forests provide livelihoods to communities and indigenous people around the world.
Find out more about FoE International's work on forests and biodiversity.
Plantations in the South are increasingly being used to grow agro-fuels for the European and North American markets. The international trade in soy and palm oil in particular is unsustainable.
Increased demand may also lead to a bigger concentration of major multinational companies in the agricultural market and increased pressure on scarce resources such as water.
Growing crops for agrofuels is already contributing to increases in food prices with potentially dire consequences for the world’s rural and urban poor.
Find out more about FoE Europe’s agro-fuels campaign.
Land grabbing occurs when land that was previously used by local communities is bought by or leased to outside investors, often multinational corporations. The land is then taken over for the production of food and agro-fuels to sell on the international market.
In some cases land grabbing by multinationals has led to serious human rights violations, as communities are forced off their land to make way for large scale plantations.
Read FOE Europe’s report Africa: up for grabs – the scale and impact of land-grabbing for agro-fuels.
REDD stands for "reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries." It is a financial mechanism that was set up to ensure that governments, companies and forest owners in the South are compensated for not chopping down their forests. Find out more about how REDD works.
Indigenous peoples and local communities are being marginalised in the development of these schemes. Meanwhile corporations and major investors are intent on reaping huge financial rewards at the cost of local communities.
Large transnational corporations including BP, Shell and energy companies are honing in on REDD as a new business opportunity.
Read Friends of the Earth International’s latest report on REDD.
Keep up to date with the REDD Monitor website.