Significant forest conservation gains in Brazil and Colombia in 2023, but global deforestation challenges persist

According to new data from the University of Maryland’s GLAD Lab on the World Resource Institute’s Global Forest Watch platform, the world lost 10 soccer fields’ worth of primary forest per minute in 2023.

In Brazil and Colombia, however, primary forest loss significantly declined during that time period.  Between 2022 and 2023, Brazil experienced a 36% decrease in primary forest loss, and Colombia a 49% decrease in primary forest loss, compared to the previous year.

The political will of the administrations in these two countries is responsible for these decreased rates of deforestation, proving good governance has the power to create real impact in global conservation work.

These data paint a picture of significant progress toward halting deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest covers nearly 2,300,000 square miles and is known as the world’s richest and most biologically diverse ecosystem, home to several million species of plants, birds, and insects, many still unrecorded by science.

Despite progress in Brazil and Colombia, global loss of tropical primary forest in 2023 remained disappointingly high. A staggering 9.1 million acres of primary forest were lost in 2023 alone. As rates of deforestation remain disastrous, conservation goals like 30×30—the global goal of conserving 30% of the earth’s lands and waters by 2030—face persistent challenges.

The mixed results of 2023—significant progress in some areas but setbacks in others—highlight the need for continued innovation, policy action, financial investments, and international cooperation to meet the 2030 forest conservation goals. As 2030 creeps closer, urgency for global efforts to combat deforestation and protect critical forest habitat increases.

On March 21, 2024,  Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed into law the protection of over 180,000 acres of mangrove forest in Brazil—part of the largest contiguous belt of mangroves in the world.

This project, funded by Rainforest Trust and achieved in partnership with RARE Brazil, marks the first legally protected area in the Amazon to be created with Rainforest Trust support, and represents a huge win for species, habitat conservation and human communities.

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The Brazilian Amazon Fund

The Rainforest Trust Brazilian Amazon Fund was created in 2023 to permanently safeguard 20 million acres in Brazil by the end of 2026. Rainforest Trust’s work around the world, but especially in Brazil, will be critical to continuing to decrease deforestation rates and protecting ecologically important habitat in the most important forests across the world.

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