The forest ecosystems that support a liveable climate, invaluable biodiversity, thriving economies, and intangible cultural importance remain under massive pressure. Standing forests are essential for limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Yet, the world remains off track to reach the 2030 goals of halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030.
In 2022, global gross deforestation reached 6.6 million hectares worldwide and was 21 percent higher than needed to eliminate deforestation by 2030. The loss of primary tropical forests reached 4.1 million hectares and is even further off track—the loss was 33 percent higher than the needed trajectory to halt primary forest loss by the end of the decade. This backslide puts forest goals even farther out of reach after the small but insufficient progress made in 2021.
Hope is not lost
Well over 50 countries are on track to eliminate deforestation within their borders by 2030. For instance, in tropical Asia, the only region that is close to the pathway for achieving zero gross deforestation, Indonesia and Malaysia have achieved sustained reductions in deforestation. Both developed and developing countries have demonstrated the transformative power of political will and dedicated action. Their efforts have led to dramatic and, in some cases, sustained reductions in deforestation rates.
Unfortunately, these individual successes cannot outweigh the massive forest loss and degradation underway across critical forest ecosystems. Further, one country’s progress cannot be disentangled from another country’s ecological crisis. Reduced deforestation in one geography may be due to the outsourcing of forest-risk commodity production and subsequent leakage of deforestation to other countries and ecosystems. In a globalized economy, all countries bear the responsibility of addressing continued forest loss.
Through a comprehensive analysis across four main chapters-- Overarching forest goals (Theme 1), Sustainable production and development (Theme 2), Finance for forests (Theme 3), and Forest governance (Theme 4), along with 7 country case studies and a set of Recommendations—the 2023 Forest Declaration Assessment sheds light on the state of global forest action.