Forests and Wetlands

Forests and Wetlands

Ending the loss of our critical ‘life support systems’

Forests and wetlands sustain our world. They are essential allies in the climate crisis, locking vast amounts of carbon away for centuries. Among the planet’s most diverse ecosystems, forests are home to around 80% of the world’s terrestrial wildlife, and 40% of all plant and animal species depend on wetlands.

Billions rely on forests and wetlands for livelihoods, shelter, food and many other benefits. They purify water, protect against storms and floods, reduce air pollution and provide many benefits, such as life-saving medicines we cannot live without. Forests and wetlands help underpin basic human rights across the globe.

But both forests and wetlands are being wiped out at an alarming rate. Since 1990, a staggering 420 million hectares of forest have been destroyed – equivalent to 11 times the size of Germany. In just 45 years, the world lost 35% of its wetlands, and these unique ecosystems are declining three times faster than forests.

This devastation is being driven by global supply chains and exacerbated by the climate crisis. Each year, international demand for just a handful of commodities - including palm oil, beef and soy sees swathes of once-thriving, rich habitats reduced to pastures and plantations. The destruction of forests and wetlands is an affront to the rights of communities that call these ecosystems home.

EJF is campaigning to stop this wanton destruction of wetlands and forests, securing protection for the Pantanal in Brazil, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and Canada’s ancient forests.

Our investigations and support to local partners, journalists and Indigenous communities expose those responsible and trigger vital policy changes and protections. Underpinning our work for forests and wetlands is supporting grassroots environmental defenders, providing training and equipment such as drones and video cameras that help them document the issues and make their voices heard.

Our Forests and Wetlands campaigns