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This article was originally published on the Guardian


“Tropical forests help people live safer, healthier, and more productive lives in many ways, not least by reducing climate change. In fact, tropical forests contribute to achieving more than half of the 17 sustainable development goals agreed by world leaders in 2015.

Goal 1: No poverty

Communities living in or near tropical forests get an average of 21% of their income from forest products other than timber, according to a survey of 24 countries. However, there is often more money to be made by clearing forests for beef pastures, soy fields, or oil palm plantations – though often by different people than those who benefit from rainforests. So the challenge for forest conservation is to find ways to make them worth more alive than dead. Eco-tourism and international carbon payments are just two of the ways this can be done.

Goal 2: Zero hunger

Tropical forests’ contributions to food security go far beyond the fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, and meats that account for 7% of the income of households living in and around them. The birds, bees, and bats that live in forests improve the productivity of nearby fields by providing free pollination and pest control. Forests also recycle moisture as cool, wet air that is better for downwind farming, while their cover contributes to the health of inland fisheries. They even support breadbaskets at continental scales by creating vapour clouds or “flying rivers” that carry atmospheric moisture from the Amazon to the fertile growing regions of southern Brazil…”

Read on at: the Guardian.