Washington, D.C. — Forest conservation and restoration is a key part of the global effort to combat climate change. In the past year, the Biden administration has signaled its intention to address deforestation through several international and domestic commitments.
A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress argues that the task is not as simple as increasing the footprint of forests—policymakers must take actions to secure the full suite of climate benefits that forests can provide.
“The climate mitigation gains that come from protecting and restoring forests depend on the biodiversity of these ecosystems,” said Anne Christianson, author of the brief and director of International Climate Policy on the Energy and Environment team at CAP. “For forests to be part of the climate solution, we must ensure that our actions support, not undermine, their ecological integrity.”
The issue brief notes that forests are also closely connected to Indigenous peoples and local communities. Any policy that separates forests from these communities has the potential to erase important voices and contribute to the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples.
To secure the full range of benefits from these pledges, the Biden administration should consider the following steps:
- Measure the success of forest protection programs not just through acres protected, dollars appropriated, or carbon sequestered, but also consider social factors and metrics that recognize protection of at-risk communities, respect land rights, and address nature crimes.
- Address supply-side drivers of deforestation and take actions to address the problem through trade, enforcement, financial, and procurement mechanisms.
- Work directly with Indigenous Peoples, including Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders, and support the rights and voices of Indigenous Peoples and local communities around the world in its climate agenda.
- Fill vacant U.S. agency positions by the end of fiscal year 2022.
Read the issue brief: “How the United States Can Fulfill Its Critical Forest Pledges” by Anne Christianson
For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at email@example.com.