2017 Goal 1 assessment

Published: November 28, 2017

Key Messages

  • There are no signs that tropical deforestation is slowing. Average greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from tropical deforestation between 2014 and 2016 increased by 25 percent as compared to the baseline (2001-13), heightening the need for renewed urgency in taking action to meet the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) and other climate goals. In 2016, tropical deforestation was a larger source of emissions than the European Union’s entire economic activity.
  • We are not on track to meet Goal 1’s milestone of halving natural forest loss globally by 2020. Although partly offset by forest regrowth, the disappearance of natural forests continues. The average annual rate of global tree cover loss has increased by more than one-third since 2014, the year the NYDF was adopted.
  • 2016 saw the highest loss of tree cover globally in more than 15 years. This was fueled in part by a strong El Niño event the previous year that led to unprecedented droughts and wildfires, as well as by the continued expansion of agricultural production for commodities like palm oil in Southeast Asia and soy in Latin America. Taking regrowth into account, the average rate of net forest loss in 2010-15 declined by 23 percent compared to the baseline (2000-10). Regenerated or newly planted trees, however, are unlikely to offset carbon emissions from natural forests, and biodiversity also differs markedly between older and younger forests with respect to both ecosystem structure and functions.

Further Resources

2017 Goal 1 assessment
2017 Goal 1 assessment [Low Resolution]
2017 Goal 1 assessment [Low Resolution]