What’s Changed about Deforestation

From time to time we take a look at things we published several years ago, to see whether they’re still up to date. We often need to decide whether to reprint them as is, revise them first, or simply decide to stop using them. This requires figuring out whether the information they contain is still valid, or has become somewhat obsolete in light of new science and recent political developments.

We’ve just done this with a short fact sheet originally published in 2009. It was called “Protecting Trees, Protecting Our Climate: Ten Reasons to Invest in Reducing Tropical Deforestation.” We decided to update it, and the experience got me thinking about how our approach to deforestation—and what’s happening on the ground—have changed significantly in just five years.

A lot of things haven’t changed, either in the fact sheet or in reality. The science showing the importance of deforestation to global warming is just a strong as before. Reducing deforestation is still one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce global warming pollution, with many other benefits to the economy, to biodiversity, and to the livelihoods of forest peoples. And the tenth point—“Addressing deforestation shows we are serious about our future”—is a perennial truth.

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