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The Challenge

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With the Paris Agreement (COP21 in December 2015), world governments committed to limiting carbon emissions to keep global warming “well below” a 2°C rise above pre-industrial levels, and possibly below a 1.5°C rise. In order to achieve this we must achieve carbon neutralrality by the second half of this century.

While reducing carbon emissions is critical, research suggests that even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in the Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years. Therefore, the challenge is to not only reduce future carbon emissions, but to actively remove existing carbon from our atmosphere.

Our solution

Trees are the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse global warming:

  • Forests balance the Earth’s water-cycle essential for cooling our climate.
  • In addition, forests play another vital role in stabilising the climate by sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere and fixing it into soils and biomass.
  • 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon which remains stored, acting as a ‘carbon sink’, unless the tree decays or is burned.
  • Global forests are estimated to hold more CO2 than the atmosphere.

"Forests represent one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available today." [New York Declaration on Forests, 2014]

We know we must halt the loss of natural forests and accelerate forest landscape restoration.

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The opportunity

More than 2 billion hectares of land  (or the equivalent of 50% of the world’s forests)  are degraded  and have been identified as having potential for Forest Restoration. Restoring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded soils by 2030 (the equivalent of 41% of the size of Brazil’s land surface), whilst at the same time reducing deforestation rates by half, may be enough to limit global warming to +2 °C, according to the New York (NY) Declaration in Sept 2014 . The NY target of 350 million hectares incorporates the land area restoration target set out in the 2011 Bonn Challenge (150 million ha by 2020). The timing and extent of action is critical.

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The Bonn Challenge launched a global movement in 2011 to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020.

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The New York Declaration on Forests looks to halve deforestation and increase the land restoration to 350 million hectares by 2030.

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Our contribution

WeForest works with communities, local organisations and NGOs to develop scalable reforestation projects, demonstrating how it is possible to mobilise communities and restore our degraded soils. WeForest, backed by a scientific network, is growing a movement of small and large companies committed to taking restorative action.

We join forces with local partners to scale restoration projects.

We measure the quality of our activity and develop best practices (see Our Principles).

We share our projects' key learnings, benefits and impacts, to inspire others to participate and  take action.

The Benefits

For people

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Women make up 70% of the world’s poor and earn only 10% of its income. Planting trees creates jobs. Restoration activities such as establishing tree nurseries, seed collection, tree planting and aftercare, create jobs that are inclusive of women and  provide opportunities for them to become entrepreneurs.

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Livelihood: often the problems of poverty and forest degradation are intertwined. Restoring forests, coupled with sustainable forest management, can help lift economies and provide business opportunities which depend on the protection and nurturing of natural resources.

For planet

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Water: trees maintain a healthy soil filtration system which helps ensure water quality. They enhance water quantity by promoting cloud formation and precipitation, slowing surface ‘run-off’, stabilising water course flow, and helping recharge groundwater reserves.

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Soil: trees restore soils by enriching the organic content and protect them, preventing erosion and landslides. This benefits both climate and agriculture, yet 75% of world’s soils are considered degraded.

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Biodiversity: forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and house over two-thirds of known terrestrial species, including the largest share of threatened species. By restoring forests we help expand habitat ranges for both flora and fauna.

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Oxygen: Forests are the lungs of the Earth, producing oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. They play a key role in generating air moisture content, generating air flow, and improving general air quality.

For climate

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Clouds: Tropical forests are critical for regulating the climate because they not only absorb carbon, they increase cloud cover through transpiration and cloud nucleation, which helps cool the planet.

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Carbon: 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon which remains stored (unless the tree decays or is burned), acting as a ‘carbon sink’. In addition, trees are essential for preventing soil degradation and loss of carbon stored in soils.

Contribution to SDG's

WeContribute to all UN Global Sustainable Development Goals and more specifically, with our reforestation approaches, to the following SDG's:

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End poverty in all its forms everywhere
We aim to empower communities, diversify livelihoods and improve economic resilience through reforestation.

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End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
Our projects aim to diversify and intensify food sources, improving food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

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Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
The empowerment of women is central to most of our projects whether through training delivery, women-led micro-enterprises such as nurseries or other economic opportunities.

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Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Forest restoration helps ensure a clean and more sustainable supply of water within related watersheds.

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Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
Nearly 1 bn people directly rely on forests for their living. We are bringing back forests whilst diversifying income streams to decouple community livelihoods from deforestation, making them more sustainable and resilient.

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Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)
We are taking action to combat climate change through the reforestation of degraded and degrading landscapes. Reforestation is also key to strengthening community resilience to climate change.

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Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
This goal best embodies the objectives of WeForest!

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Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
We are advancing the FLR agenda by developing collaborations with the scientific community, think-tanks, intergovernmental institutions and not-for-profit organisations in ways that create shared value.