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 Messages

  • Efforts to reduce deforestation are relatively low leverage for the climate, because the influence from energy CO2 emissions is so dominant, but stopping deforestation is still part of a multi-pronged effort to address climate change.

  • Protecting forests is helpful for many reasons other than climate action, including biodiversity conservation and protection of native peoples’ 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 and prevents soil loss.

  • Forests provide livelihoods for people (e.g., small-scale resource gathering and sustainable forestry) that can be lost when land is shifted to other uses.

Equity Considerations

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

Slider Settings

highly reduced

moderately reduced

status quo


Percent per year reduction or increase

-10% to -4%

-4% to -1%

-1% to 0%

0% to +1%

Model Structure

Emissions from deforestation stay level in the Baseline scenario to reflect trends that indicate deforestation continues to be insufficiently addressed worldwide.

Please visit for additional inquires and support.



Salopek, P. (2019, May 16). Millions of indigenous people face eviction from their forest homes. National Geographic.


Mwijuke, G. (2018, January 12). Batwa of Uganda mired in extreme poverty. Chwezitraveller.