Bringing together 50+ countries, The Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) works towards “responsible stewardship of the World’s last great rainforests through innovative strategies which integrate social, economic and scientific rationales to achieve environmental and social sustainability” .
Although tropical rainforests (now) cover less than 3% of the planet’s surface, they contain the largest living biomass and are home to “an estimated half of the world’s plants and animals, many of which have yet to be catalogued” . In addition to providing shelter and food for a stunning amount of biodiversity, rainforests absorb and store greenhouse gasses, providing perhaps one of the largest and most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions.
Deforestation, when trees and forests are cut or otherwise cleared and then not replanted, is a critical environmental concern affecting forests worldwide, albeit largely those in tropical areas. It is estimated that each year an area close to the size of Greece is deforested . This has caused an acceleration of biodiversity loss via the removal of homes and sources of food for wildlife, as well as additional anthropogenic disturbances . Deforestation is also “one of the largest carbon-dioxide emitters, accounting for nearly 15 percent of global CO2 emissions” .
To date, one of CfRN’s largest accomplishments has been the successful integration of their policy mechanism – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) within the Paris Agreement, which is “the only global conservation system to preserve and protect rainforests by making them worth more alive than dead” .
In short, “REDD+ offers incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands” . This allows rainforest nations to obtain economic value from preserving and protecting their rainforests, rather than through activities that lead to deforestation, such as logging. It also provides a mechanism for developed nations, private sector, and consumers to transfer money to rainforest nations in exchange for the protection of these vital ecosystems, thereby addressing the reality that rainforest nations “didn’t cause the climate emergency but nevertheless feel the brunt of it daily” .