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Underlying Causes of Forest Loss

Deforestation and forest degradation can be successfully tackled, and forest conservation and restoration enhanced, by tackling the real underlying causes of forest loss. These include reducing demand for wood and land, and supporting cultural values, Indigenous territories, and community conserved areas.

GFC aims:

  • To raise public awareness on the importance of addressing the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation
  • To build capacity amongst all relevant actors in analyzing and addressing the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation
  • To develop and implement, in an open and participatory manner, solution-oriented approaches towards addressing the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

There is a particular need to integrate forest conservation and restoration strategies with sustainable livelihood strategies in line with the Millennium Development Goals and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the outcomes of the Cochabamba-based World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change.

Furthermore, the current vogue for Payment for Environmental Services schemes implies that forests can only be conserved when landowners are adequately compensated financially. But case studies by the GFC show that a more effective approach would be to stem international demand and develop a system of rewards focused on fostering and stimulating traditional value systems and providing alternative livelihoods. Integrated strategies that support sustainable livelihoods are also more financially sustainable than PES schemes.

Some of the most effective strategies do not need significant amounts of funding. Rather they require a political commitment to really making a difference, and a sustainable approach to forest ecosystems that builds on the rights, needs and cultural value systems of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

For the publications on Underlying Causes of Forest Loss go to Resources.