April 22, 2021
Protecting Tropical Forests Protects Us
- as seen by -Sarah Markes and Tim Davenport
Science clearly shows that emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ from human activities are altering our climate in dangerous ways. The resultant changing weather patterns threaten agriculture, human health, livelihoods, and national economies, as well as jeopardizing the survival of biodiversity, wildlife populations, and entire species. Science also shows that protecting tropical forests is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to prevent climate change as they store a very high level of carbon compared to other habitats and land uses.
Tropical forests also provide a wide array of benefits to communities living around them – from helping regulate water and nutrient cycles, reducing flooding and drought, supporting pollination and soil conservation, to sustaining livelihoods such as honey production and ecotourism. The potential for income derived from forest protection derived carbon credits is also substantial. In addition, these forests are hugely biodiverse, so protecting them safeguards numerous species. Leaving forests intact also reduces the danger of disease evolution and transmission caused by habitat destruction and human-wildlife interaction.
As we see from the global news, tropical forests are under threat all over the world from land conversion to agriculture, new infrastructure and urban expansion, logging for the timber trade, and increasingly, forest fires. Forest biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss, unsustainable hunting for bushmeat and medicine as well as the international pet trade.
How many species can you spot?
WCS works with communities, conservation partners, and governments across East Africa and Madagascar to help protect their forests. This poster was created in support of this work. If you would like a high-resolution pdf, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. English and Swahili versions are available.