As government leaders and forestry experts gathered in South Korea this week to discuss the state of the world’s forests, new research suggests that ambitious international efforts to curb deforestation are making insufficient progress and the planet’s trees continue to disappear.
On Wednesday, an international consortium of researchers released an assessment of the sweeping United Nations-sponsored program, known as REDD+, that was launched 15 years ago to compensate developing countries—home to most of the planet’s climate-critical tropical forests—for conserving and protecting their trees.
But the report, from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, acknowledges that REDD+ has been riddled with problems, and its authors say that efforts to stop deforestation are being overwhelmed, in large part by giant agricultural corporations that are the driving force behind much of the forest loss.
“There’s massive commitment,” said Stephanie Mansourian, one of the report’s authors. “But at the end of the day, on implementation, we’re way behind.”