News  |  15.01.2021

WWF publishes its "Deforestation fronts" report

43 million hectares of forests were lost between 2004 and 2017, i.e. nearly 80% of the surface area of metropolitan France, on 24 "deforestation fronts", hot spots where global deforestation has been concentrated in recent years. It is on this alarming observation that the latest WWF study opens, highlighting in particular the responsibility of the expansion of agricultural land in the deforestation dynamic.

Aerial shot of Acre State showing forest fire. Amazonia, Brazil. Crédit Mark Edwards/WWFAerial shot of Acre State showing forest fire. Amazonia, Brazil. Crédit Mark Edwards/WWF

In this study, WWF identified the 24 most severe deforestation fronts in the tropics and subtropics. Some of them are already known and have been active for several years, such as in Cerrado, the Congo Basin or the Mekong Basin, and further analysis reveals others. In total, 9 of the 24 deforestation fronts are in Latin America, a region that is experiencing a particularly dramatic decline in wildlife populations as illustrated by the recent Living Planet Report; 8 are in Africa and 7 in Asia-PacificSource WWF 2021Source WWF 2021

Commercial agriculture is the main cause of deforestation worldwide as many forest areas are cleared to create space for livestock and crops. Other drivers of deforestation such as mining, food agriculture, infrastructure, or land speculation are also on the rise.

Source WWF 2021

Source WWF 2021

The results of the report emphasize that solutions deployed to combat deforestation must be adapted to the local context and are most effective when combined. It highlights the responsibility of governments and companies in accelerating deforestation.

WWF is calling for several urgent actions, including :

  • Ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to enable them to be at the heart of forest protection and management.
  • Ensuring the conservation of areas rich in biodiversity
  • Adopt and support legislation to ensure that all marketed products are free of deforestation and conversion of other ecosystems, and respect human rights.
  • Ensure that corporate supply chains are sustainable and encourage more companies and financial institutions to commit to zero deforestation and conversion policies
  • Ensure that the deforestation risk is properly integrated into the Vigilance Plans of companies subject to the 2017 Due Diligence Act.

To know more about it:

Deforestation Fronts Report (English)

Summary of the report in French

Position Paper SNDI - National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation (France)

Press Release

France Inter - imported deforestation

Fires, forest and the future