The causes, pace, and magnitude of deforestation and forest degradation have changed over time. The way that different deforestation drivers are connected and the effects they have on forest ecosystems vary across regions. While progress has been made in halting forest loss and degradation, both continue at alarming rates. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of deforestation, connecting drivers and responses on a global scale.
- Agriculture is the leading driver of deforestation around the world. A growing global population and increased food consumption have led to many forests being converted into farms.
- The type of agriculture varies by geography but includes predominantly commercial agriculture, smallholder farming, and cattle ranching in Latin America; subsistence and small-scale commercial farming in Africa; and commercial agriculture and vast plantations in Asia.
- In addition to agriculture, deforestation is also being driven by other human activities such as logging; human migration and population increases; extractive industries (mining, oil and gas, etc.); as well as expanding transport and infrastructure projects.
- Increased public and private sector collaboration and alignment of efforts to address deforestation and forest habitat conversion are important steps to increasing sustainable food production and protecting local peoples' livelihoods while also reducing the environmental impacts of production, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- While the exact causes and drivers of deforestation change over time and vary from region to region, one thing remains consistent: The need for place-based solutions to halt deforestation is critical to protecting our global forests while also protecting the interests and livelihoods of the local peoples who live among them.