Commentary: Ending deforestation requires these four actions

In a commentary published by Mongabay, ecologist Dan Nepstad underlines that without support to building strong institutions, ‘it may not be possible to further curb tropical deforestation.’ He writes: ‘governments control the biggest levers for influencing the decision that is made every year by millions of people who live in or work in tropical forests–to cut trees or not.’

Tropical forest by CIFOR

Nepstad outlines four ways to build the governmental case for ending tropical deforestation. Each step is to be carried out by a different group of stakeholders. First, the international community should ‘find a narrative for strategies to end tropical deforestation that can win votes in tropical forest regions.’ Second, businesses that are committed to sustainability should ‘go beyond unilateral “zero deforestation” pledges to develop partnerships with regional authorities and farm sectors.’ Third, tropical forest governments should ‘create the regulatory clarity and administrative efficiency that will attract investors and commercial partners.’ And fourth, NGOs and donors should not ‘forget the carrots,’ namely recognise and celebrate the producers who have taken ‘bold steps towards legal compliance.’

Nepstad concludes by underlining the significant role that avoided deforestation can play in mitigating climate change. To ensure this potential is realised, he calls for ‘weaving’ strategies aimed at slowing and eventually reversing deforestation into ‘a broader vision of green development’ that becomes ‘a pathway to prosperity, economic growth, and a better quality of life.’ Full commentary