Land & Forests

Land & Forests

Protect the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems to ensure the persistence of global biodiversity

Land and forests are the life support systems of the planet. Dense tropical rainforests, jagged mountain ranges, and rolling savannas provide homes to millions of animal and plant species around the world. Human life also depends on land and forests, from the air we breath and food we eat to the livelihoods that support us.

Every moment, these vital life support systems are under threat. Around the globe, habitats are being destroyed and biodiversity lost at an alarming rate. The earth’s most remarkable places and creatures are the most at risk from the looming threats of deforestation, overexploitation and irresponsible development.

Since tourism tends to flourish in biodiversity hotspots, the industry has the unique potential to spur environmental responsibility and support conservation efforts in some of the world’s most vulnerable destinations.  However, if environmental protection is not put first, tourism can present an additional risk to land and forests.

Issues We're Addressing

Loss of forests, mangroves and wetlands

Wildlife and species risk

Land degradation and erosion

Introduction of non-native and invasive species

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DEFORESTATION

Forests foster extraordinary biodiversity, providing habitats for over 80% of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species. Forests are an essential source of food, fuel, and building materials for many rural communities and they support the livelihoods of approximately 1.6 billion people around the world. The ability of trees to store carbon makes forest conservation an important factor in mitigating climate change. But forests all across the globe face growing threats of deforestation due to irresponsible development, agricultural expansion, unsustainable logging and the failure of land protection policies.

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LOSS OF WETLANDS & MANGROVES

The link between land and marine environments, wetlands provide significant benefits to humans and ecosystems. The trees, shrubs, and grasses that dominate wetlands serve as a defense barrier, shielding coastal areas from storms, waves and natural disasters. Wetlands also prevent coastal erosion and filter sediments and pollution out of marine environments. Mangrove forests, a type of wetland commonly found along tropical coastlines, are especially beneficial due to their ability to store even more carbon than terrestrial forests. These valuable wetlands are being lost as a result of drainage for agricultural or commercial development, rising sea levels and drought brought on by climate change, and pollution.

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WILDLIFE & SPECIES RISK

Wildlife species around the world are facing extinction at up to 1000 times the natural rate. Human well-being depends on plants and animals, yet we remain the primary culprit behind this loss of biodiversity. The habitats and natural resources these species depend on are being destroyed by human activity every day. Illegal activities such as poaching and wildlife trafficking threaten some of the most at-risk species. Unethical wildlife tourism and human encroachment agitate animals, altering their feeding and breeding patterns. If action isn’t taken to confront these threats, wildlife populations will continue to shrink and more species will risk extinction.

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INTRODUCTION OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Ecosystems are made up of many interrelated components. When one component is altered, the balance of the entire ecosystem may be disrupted. The introduction of “invasive” species is one way this delicate balance can be thrown off. Invasive species are non-native species that cause harm to the ecosystem, including changes in ecological processes, degraded habitats, and displaced or eradicated native species. In addition to harming ecosystems, invasive species can result in negative economic consequences, threaten human health, reduce the availability of essential resources and degrade recreational areas.