The woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), cousin of the European reindeer, is an iconic Boreal species — © Photo by JD Taylor



Forests clean our air and water, provide life-saving medicine, regulate our climate, store carbon and are home to millions of people. They’re also teeming with animals, insects, and plants. If you want to save the world, forests are a great place to start. And if you want to find one of the best organizations for the job, you’re in the right place.

Since 1999, ForestEthics has secured protection agreements for 65 million acres of forests (26 million hectares) and helped move billions of dollars of corporate buying away from forest destruction. Learn more about us >>

Artwork © Franke James

State of the Forests

Protecting forests is more critical than ever. With more than half of the world’s original forest gone, North America, along with Russia and Brazil house the majority of what remains. Only 20% of our world’s original forests remain in areas large enough to sustain the natural range of species and forest functions.

General Forest Facts:

Provided by the United Nations unless otherwise noted

  • Forests cover 30% of total land area
  • Forests are home to 80% of our terrestrial biodiversity
  • 300 million people live in forests and they provide livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people
  • 30% of forests are used for production of wood and non-wood products.
  • Globally, we lose about 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forest per year. That’s an area the size of Greece or Nicaragua
  • Forests account for almost all of the world’s land-based carbon uptake (1)
  • Boreal forests, in North America and Eurasia, are estimated to be responsible for 22% of the carbon stored in the forest (1)

“We know not what we destroy” – Interesting forest facts:

  • Trees are some of the largest, longest-living organisms on our planet
  • Several miles of nutrient fixing fungal filaments (mycorrhizal fungi) can be present in a thimble of soil in the forest
  • Trees “communicate” to each other by secreting chemicals. In fact, they can send warnings about pests that cause other trees to produce pest resistant chemicals in their bark and needles

ForestEthics’ director, Todd Paglia, gives five reasons why he loves forests >>

1. McGuire, David and co authors. (2011, July 14). A Large and Persistent Carbon Sink in the World’s Forests Science Express. Science Express. Retrieved from <>.