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Why do forests matter?

Human society and the global economy are inextricably linked to forests. More than 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. Forest ecosystems also play a critical role in stabilizing the climate; providing food, water, wood products, and vital medicines; and supporting much of the world’s biodiversity.

Despite recent efforts to combat harmful deforestation in some regions, forest ecosystems are still under threat. According to WRI research, 30% of potential global forest cover has been cleared, while another 20% has been degraded. Most remaining forests have been fragmented, leaving only about 15% of original forest cover intact.

Balancing the demand for natural resources with the need to preserve vital ecosystems requires robust data to help resource managers make good decisions. GFW can help by providing this information at a global scale.

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