imgDeforestationIcon Deforestation

Decrease or increase the loss of forests for agricultural and wood product uses. Deforestation often entails burning and removing forests to clear land for crops like soybeans, corn, or palm oil. Forest protection efforts increase biodiversity and can support community resilience.


  • Government policy to preserve forested land and place restrictions on industries such as soybean and/or palm oil.
  • Increased support for indigenous land rights.
  • Public support and campaigns to support land preservation.

Big Message

  • Efforts to reduce deforestation are relatively low leverage for the climate, but are one part of a multi-pronged effort.
  • Protecting forests is helpful for many reasons other than the environment, including protecting biodiversity and native people’s lands.

Key Dynamics

  • Highly reducing deforestation emissions reduces temperature less than most people would estimate. View the “Greenhouse Gas Net Emissions by Gas – Area” graph to see the role of land use (deforestation) CO2 relative to all the other sources of emissions.

Potential Co-Benefits of Decreasing Deforestation

  • Forests protect biodiversity and provide ecosystem services and food sources.
  • Forest preservation reduces erosion which leads to water contamination.
  • Forests provide livelihoods for people (e.g., small-scale resource gathering and sustainable forestry) that can be lost when land shifts to other uses.

Equity Considerations

  • Forest preservation efforts have restricted the access of indigenous people who have lived sustainably on the land for generations. Policies should be created with local stakeholder engagement. [1] [2]

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Model Structure

Emissions from deforestation stay level in the business as usual scenario.