Across the globe, we’re rapidly losing forests to illegal logging

The FOREST Act would help reduce illegal deforestation


aerial tropical forests
Francisco Guerrero | Public Domain

Take Action

Illegal deforestation is wiping entire forests off the face of the Earth—each year, an area the size of Portugal is deforested in the tropics. In its wake, only lifeless stumps remain—foundations that remind us of the massive living beings that were once bastions of biodiversity and provided homes for creatures yet to be discovered.

Of the 10 million hectares of deforestation that occurs across the globe each year, 95% takes place in the tropics. Consider what we’re losing with every acre: Illegal deforestation operations are erasing ecosystems teeming with life to make way for agriculture and other human development. Much of the timber harvested and many of the commodities grown in these forests are exported to the world’s richest countries, including the United States.

Besides wreaking havoc on biodiversity, the decimation of forests removes a natural and effective tool in sequestering large amounts of carbon. Across the tropics, one of the most available solutions to the climate crisis is swiftly felled and transformed into products that end up on the shelves at American home improvement and grocery stores. Forests hold enormous amounts of carbon, safely stored in trunks, branches, and soil. And, left to grow, they’ll store even more.

We know these trees are worth more standing, but how can we protect forests that are beyond our borders? To start, the United States can block the import of products made with wood from illegal deforestation.

The Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act recognizes that the United States has tremendous market power, and we can help end these illegal operations by blocking the import of products made from forests that were illegally logged.

The FOREST Act would:

  • Prevent agricultural products sourced or produced on illegally deforested land from being imported into the United States
  • Increase supply chain transparency and traceability through new reporting requirements
  • Strengthen efforts to reduce deforestation through collaboration with governments fighting its associated crime and corruption

We need our forests more than ever. Right now, we’re essentially outsourcing deforestation. We may live thousands of miles north of these important forests, but consumers and policy makers in the United States can—and must—act to mitigate tropical deforestation.

Find Out More