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Tell Congress: Support the FOREST Act to halt illegal deforestation today.

Tell Congress: Halt Illegal Deforestation

Across the tropics, illegal deforestation is on the rise. Destroying forests decimates the plants and wildlife who dwell there, and upends livelihoods for countless people. Forests are also an essential natural solution in the fight against climate change, due to their carbon storage capabilities. The destruction must end now.

By saving nature, in particular protecting intact forests and restoring coastal ecosystems, we can achieve ⅓ of the action needed to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2030.

The ​​bipartisan Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act of 2021 (S. 2950/ H.R. 5508), sponsored by Sen. Schatz, Rep. Blumenauer and Rep. Fitzpatrick, seeks to do just that. The FOREST Act empowers the U.S. to assert its market leverage by keeping products produced on illegally deforested land out of U.S. markets, and by supporting countries in enforcing their own laws to address and prevent illegal deforestation. Tell your member of Congress: cosponsor the FOREST Act now. Share your voice today.

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Your Message
Support the FOREST Act to halt illegal deforestation today
Dear Member of Congress,

As a constituent and supporter of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), I’m writing to urge you to cosponsor the bipartisan ​​Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act of 2021 (S. 2950/ H.R. 5508) sponsored by Sen. Schatz, Rep. Blumenauer and Rep. Fitzpatrick. In tackling illegal deforestation driven by commodities such as palm oil, soybeans, cocoa, cattle, rubber, and wood pulp, the FOREST Act would tackle a significant driver of emissions from deforestation and biodiversity loss, curb the spillover of pathogens from wildlife to people that cause pandemics, and safeguard the ecological integrity of the world’s remaining forests. This legislation is an important contribution towards global action on meeting the goals of the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which commits to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

The expansion of commercial agriculture is the primary driver of deforestation across the tropics. Emissions from illegal forest clearance conducted in violation of national laws and regulations accounted for at least 42% of all emissions from tropical deforestation in 2019. This amounts to at least 2.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year; only the United States and China produce more emissions. In 2019, more than 30 percent of agricultural commodities linked to deforestation were exported, with widely-traded commodities carrying significant risks of illegal conversion practices.

At the same time, we need forests more than ever: as an essential natural climate solution they could provide over a crucial amount of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed before 2030 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Forests support the livelihoods of some 1.6 billion people, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities and also serve as strongholds for two-thirds of all land-based plants and animals, and provide vital water supplies and erosion control. Keeping forests standing and healthy also reduces the risk of zoonotic disease spillover events such as those related to Ebola and coronaviruses.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize countries that have already taken significant action to reduce deforestation rates within their borders and are seeing sustained reductions in deforestation rates. As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of agricultural commodities, the U.S. must demonstrate leadership and use its market leverage to bring all interested parties together to stop illegal deforestation, while strengthening rule of law and elevating responsible business practices. Through the FOREST Act, the U.S. is taking an important step in this direction by strengthening the regulatory frameworks and incentive systems that can drive systemic change in global commodity supply chains, by:

• Prohibiting the import of products produced on illegally deforested land;
• Implementing due diligence requirements for companies importing products into the U.S. to ensure those products are not being produced on illegally deforested land; and
• Providing foreign assistance to support countries in enforcing their laws to prevent illegal deforestation.

I urge you to cosponsor the FOREST Act and to support this and other policies to protect intact ecosystems and wildlife.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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Wildlife Crime

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Changes in climate jeopardize biodiversity and the health of entire ecosystems.

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