Why They Matter
People Depend on Forests
Millions of people around the world depend on forests for hunting, gathering and medicine, forest products such as rubber and rattan, and small-scale agriculture. Deforestation can disrupt the lives of local communities, sometimes with devastating consequences. Forests provide a vast array of resources to all of us, including food, wood, medicine, fresh water, and the air we breathe. Without the trees, species can disappear, the natural water balance can become disrupted and the ecosystem that supports the human population can fall apart.
Forest trees and other plants soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it away as they grow and thrive. Tropical forests alone hold more than 210 gigatons of carbon, seven times the amount emitted each year by human activities.
Eighty percent of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species can be found in forests, and tropical rainforests are home to more species than any other terrestrial habitat. A square kilometer of forest may be home to more than 1,000 species.
What WWF Is Doing
- Linda K. Walker Director, Responsible Forestry and Trade
- Kerry Cesareo Senior Director, Forests
- Meg Symington Managing Director, Amazon
- Rachel Kramer Senior Program Officer, Wildlife Conservation and TRAFFIC
- Jan Vertefeuille Senior Director, Advocacy, Wildlife Conservation
- Bas Huijbregts African Species Manager, Wildlife Conservation Program