How We Are…Keeping Forests Standing18/04/2012
In the third instalment of our How We Are series, we look at how we are working to keep forests standing. The How We Are series is a chance for you to find out what we are doing in areas such as climate change, forestry, poverty alleviation and business transformation, and the impacts we are achieving along the way.
Illegal logging. Over-harvesting. Agricultural conversion. Forests are disappearing before our eyes. The result? Wildlife habitat is destroyed, species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates, soils are eroded, water safety is compromised and climate change is exacerbated.
What We’re Doing
For more than two decades, the Rainforest Alliance has worked around the world to stop deforestation by developing innovative and sustainable alternatives to forest destruction. While we recognise the need for forest products, like lumber and paper, we also know there are ways to produce these materials sustainably, without clear-cutting forests. Similarly, while farmers need to produce food, they don’t need to eradicate the vegetation that protects streams, prevents soil erosion and provides habitat for wildlife.
The Rainforest Alliance solution? Through certification and verification, we provide forest managers, farmers and tourism entrepreneurs with the tools to manage their land responsibly — preventing deforestation and forest degradation, increasing forest cover and conservation areas, and helping them generate the goods and services upon which we all rely. We are also working to help communities in biodiverse locations establish sustainable tourism businesses — both attracting conservation-conscious travellers and providing communities with a sustainable alternative to potentially damaging activities, such as illegal logging and oil extraction.
- We’ve certified over 157 million acres (63.6 million hectares) of forestland around the world according to FSC standards, proving that responsible forestry is a viable alternative to deforestation. In many cases, FSC-certification protects forests better than even governments can; in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, for example, the rate of deforestation in government protected areas is 20 times the rate of deforestation in certified forest communities.
- Along with our partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), we’ve helped over 80,000 farms adopt practices that prevent deforestation, encourage reforestation and promote responsible land management. Together, we’ve developed standards for the certification of sustainable cattle farming and the production of biofuel crops, whose irresponsible cultivation has been a significant driver of rainforest destruction.
- We’ve provided training to more than 2,000 tourism entrepreneurs, encouraging the operation of sustainable tourism businesses that are an economic boon to communities while encouraging the protection of forests and their inhabitants.