While there are plenty of environmental concerns to fret about, it's also important to recognize good news. And some of the best news recently is this: A number of nations have had real success in slowing rampant deforestation.
Some of the key strategies include:
- Carbon trading, with REDD+ financing benefiting forests in Guyana, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, and Costa Rica
- Payments for ecosystem services, which have been successful in various countries, including Costa Rica, Mexico, and Vietnam
- Improving governance and law enforcement, which has aided forest protection in central Africa and Brazil
- Temporary moratoria on forest clearing, which have benefited forests imperiled by the massive beef and soy industries in Brazil
- Notably, most success stories include examples of empowering local communities and decentralizing forest-management decisions
Globally, the rate of forest loss fell by a fifth between the 1990s and 2000s. Perhaps the most remarkable story of all is the Brazilian Amazon, where the deforestation rate has plummeted by nearly 80% over the last decade.
What these examples reveal is that actions to conserve forests really can produce meaningful results. The message for conservationists: take note and take heart.