Forests are home to 80% of Earth’s terrestrial animals, plants and insects and 1.6 billions people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Despite this, we lost 3.3 million hectares of forest area to deforestation between 2010 and 2015 and loss continues at an alarming rate.
Forests play an important role in the ecosystem by absorbing greenhouse gasses such as CO2 and turning them into oxygen for us to breathe, as well as returning water vapour to the natural water cycle and protecting the soil from drying out.
If deforestation continues at the same rate, there will be no more forests left in another century, yet 1.5 million tons of CO2 are estimated to be released due to the burning and cutting down of forests each year—a very vicious circle.
Palm oil plantations, urbanisation and agricultural farming of livestock are some of the biggest drivers of deforestation. It is difficult to avoid consumption of palm oil as it is increasingly used in many foods and household products, and provides a living for many farmers in developing countries.
The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) introduced the ‘Red List’ in 1964 to record the status of threat to animal species. Currently, 25,820 species are threatened with extinction and 6-12 orangutans are killed in our forests each day.
Without the existence of bees it would cost farmers £1.8 billion to pollinate the number of crops to sustain our current food consumption.
The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth between 70-213 billion dollars per year, with poaching presenting a major barrier to sustainable development in community resources, crime, wildlife extinction and natural ecosystems and food chains. Horns, tusks and skins are poached for the black market, trophies, fashion, traditional medicines and exotic foods—all of which are unnecessary.
75% of those considered poor across the globe are effected by land degradation due to changes in soil and drier climates (desertification).