WHEN WE STAND FOR TREES, WE STAND FOR STOPPING DEFORESTATION
Because we are losing a forest area the size of New York City every 48 hours.
Tropical deforestation is often an economic problem. Stand For Trees helps to fix it.
Why Deforestation Happens
Deforestation occurs when the value of other uses of forest land – logging, agriculture, artisanal mining, plantations – is higher than the value of the standing forest. Naturally, the forest then gets cut down, and converted to these other uses.
In some cases, communities are forced to cut trees for charcoal or fuelwood, because they have no other source of energy. For communities with few other alternatives, artisanal mining and/or illegal logging may be the only realistic sources of income. Economic incentives and the influence of industrial agriculture can promote large-scale deforestation, even overriding the wishes of local communities. And in many cases, people that live near forests are subsistence or small-scale commercial farmers, growing food crops for daily life or commodities for export and trade. Unfortunately, these lands are also often marginal: soils are poor, conditions are harsh, and crops don’t grow well. And when yields are low, locals either can’t grow enough food, or earn enough money to support themselves – or both. To make matters worse, rural farmers generally don’t have access to the latest technologies – better seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, holistic or organic practices – that could help them overcome some of these issues. Their only option is to continue clearing the forest and convert it to farmland, so that they can grow more crops in a larger area.
In all these cases, deforestation may help to improve the short-term situation. But over the long term, it leads to land degradation – which creates a vicious cycle of further deforestation and degradation.
But we can change this, because standing forests do have value. Not only do they store carbon, but they provide critical support for communities and societies, like clean air, flood control, erosion control, and fuelwood (when used responsibly). Some of these can be valued using economic methods, but there are many non-financial values – the relief of knowing spectacular landscapes are protected, that habitats for endangered species are preserved, and that species have a fighting chance at survival – that can’t be counted, or that are quite literally priceless. And either way, pricing and paying for them is difficult, because they vary from area to area, and there are no standard markets or methodologies for most of them yet.
For carbon, there is a UN-created model, called REDD+. It stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’, and it lets us value trees, hectares of forest, and even entire landscapes by the amount of carbon they store – in other words, by their contribution to fighting today’s greatest crisis: climate change.
How Stand For Trees helps to stop deforestation
All our projects use REDD+ to put a financial value on a threatened forest, based on the amount of carbon it contains. Some of them use this money to pay communities or individuals directly to keep their forests standing. Others fund local NGOs which undertake a range of activities in the area, including illegal logging patrols, technical assistance to farming communities to improve practices and increase yield (removing the need to clear forests), creation of alternative livelihoods that don’t depend on deforestation, and so forth. (See the livelihoods page for more on this.) And some are even able to address large-scale causes of deforestation by improving community ownership of land and removing the need for locals to sell their lands to businesses involved in industrial agriculture.
But where does this money come from?
The answer is you.
Whether you’re a person, a responsible business, or an official serious about climate change, Stand For Trees helps you become part of the solution. When you buy a Stand For Trees certificate, you’re not just donating to a good cause: you’re saving a tonne of carbon stored in a forest, and making it more valuable alive than dead. And that means you are helping to create a positive alternative to deforestation for local communities. Because in this fight, every little bit counts.