Forests play a crucial role in climate change, both as a sink and a source of carbon emissions. Forests are second only to oceans as the largest global stores of carbon, and tropical forests alone absorb up to 1.8 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere every year. However, agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for nearly a quarter of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Forests and other natural ecosystems are still the best and most cost-effective carbon-capture technology available. As countries and companies look for solutions to meet their climate targets and move toward more sustainable development pathways, we must continue to find new and innovative ways to protect crucial forest landscapes. Ending forest conversion, preserving the forest carbon sink, and restoring forests has the potential to avoid more than one-third of global emissions.
WWF believes that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are central players in the fight against climate change. Together, they manage at least 293,061 million metric tons of carbon in their forests – that's 17 per cent of the world’s forest carbon. It is estimated that the costs of carbon mitigation by securing forest rights on indigenous lands in Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia is 5 to 42 times less expensive than other carbon mitigation strategies such as carbon capture and storage of fossil fuels. Hence, it is critical that the rights, traditions, lives, and land of Indigenous People and local communities be protected, and governance institutions strengthened to make that happen.
- Influencing rules and standards both at the national and international levels to influence implementation of public sector commitments to support climate mitigation and adaptation actions in major forest landscapes.
- Support in-country implementation and provide policy and technical support to national and subnational governments on forest carbon science and forest policy.
- Mobilizing climate finance for timely and equitable access to results-based funds for protecting forests and climate.
- Capacity building and working with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to help them gain control of their resources. We also work with and through different institutional levels in implementing effective governance in their territories.
- Producing accessible and innovative applications to improve data collection and assessment.
- Engaging the private sector and utilize public-private partnerships to leverage and influence sustainable forest landscape practices across sectors as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation actions.
- Generating best practices and providing cross-cutting support through knowledge sharing and learning, particularly the collection and dissemination of lessons and results from the ground.