World off track to end deforestation by 2030, report finds

Deforestation is increasing despite global pledges to end it by 2030.

Deforestation is increasing despite global pledges to end it by 2030. Image: Pexels/Johannes Plenio

Steven Grattan
Reporter, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Emily Poyser
Communications Lead, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Forests?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Forests is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


  • Deforestation increased by 4% in 2022, meaning the world is 21% off track to end deforestation by 2030.
  • Efforts to preserve old-growth tropical forests are 33% off track, with 4.1 million hectares lost in 2022.
  • WWF calls for tackling the systemic threats to forests, deliver the funding needed to protect and restore them, and bring national policies in line with global commitments
  • The private sector has a huge role play in protecting and restoring forests

This article is based on Reuters reporting.

This year’s Forest Declaration Assessment report finds that nearly 66,000 square kilometers of forest were lost in 2022, putting the world 21 percent off track to meet the goal of ending deforestation by 2030 set by more than 140 countries at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

WWF, on the same day, in its Forest Pathways Report, stressed the need to put into action the global goals we already have. It states we must tackle the systemic threats to forests, deliver the funding needed to protect and restore them, and bring national policies in line with global commitments.

This is where the private sector comes in, by ensuring progress speeds up and investment flows. From eliminating deforestation in supply chains, through to investing in quality restoration projects - the right trees, the right place, in the right way. is one way businesses can become involved in this mission, to conserve, restore and grow a trillion trees by 2030 for people, biodiversity and planet. This initiative is in support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), which “aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.” The Tropical Forest Alliance is another initiative to support the implementation of private-sector commitments to remove deforestation from palm oil, beef, soy and pulp/paper supply chains.


What is the World Economic Forum doing about nature?

The world is moving too slowly to meet pledges to end deforestation by 2030, with the destruction worsening in 2022, according to a report by a coalition of environmental organizations released on Monday.

More than 140 countries - representing the vast majority of the world's woodlands - pledged at the 2021 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow to halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by the end of the decade.

Yet deforestation increased by 4% worldwide in 2022 compared with 2021, as some 66,000 square kilometers (25,000 square miles) were destroyed, the annual Forest Declaration Assessment report said. That means the world is 21% off track to end deforestation by 2030.

"The world's forests are in crisis. The opportunity to make progress is passing us by," said Erin Matson, a senior consultant at environmental group Climate Focus.

The report was conducted by a coalition of civil society and research organizations who assess progress towards pledges to eliminate deforestation by 2030.

That includes the Glasgow pledge and the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests, which saw a shorter list of countries as well as dozens of the world's biggest companies make a similar commitment.

Efforts to preserve old-growth tropical forests — prized for their dense carbon content and rich biodiveristy — are 33% off track, with 4.1 million hectares lost in 2022, according to the study.

In a news briefing, the researchers involved in the report stressed that the annual $2.2 billion in public funds channeled to projects to protect forests every year is a fraction of the investment needed.

The study also looked beyond deforestation to analyze forest degradation, with one researcher estimating the area of degraded forests to be much larger than the area of global deforestation.

Drivers of forest degradation include logging activities, livestock grazing, and road construction, according to Climate Focus.

But some parts of the world are making progress, said Franziska Haupt, a lead author and managing partner at consultancy Climate Focus.

Have you read?

Haupt said that some 50 countries are on track to end forest loss, with Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia showing drastic reductions in deforestation.

"Hope isn't lost," Haupt said. "These countries set clear examples that others must follow."

Brazil, which is responsible for around 30 percent of the world's deforestation, has seen a significant turnaround with a new government which is much more committed to fighting deforestation than the last, said a WWF Brazil representative during the news conference.

"This showcases what could happen when countries with good laws and the books actually invest in enforcing them,” said Darragh Conway, lead on rights & governance for the Forest Declaration Assessment.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
ForestsNature and Biodiversity
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How can companies protect and restore forests in a global climate crisis?

Daniel Schneiders

April 11, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum