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What do cities have to do with tropical forests? Why should they care?

The Partner Forest Program connects cities with specific tropical forest areas and communities for mutual benefit, and in support of forest conservation and restoration strategies.

As centers of population and influence, cities are key actors in the struggle to halt climate change and protect the planet. Yet cities are often unaware that their consumption is responsible for the majority of tropical deforestation, which progresses through demand for everyday commodities like palm oil, soy, rubber, cacao, metals, petroleum, coffee, and wood. Tropical forests hold vast amounts of carbon, are home to most of our land-based biodiversity, and play a vital role in maintaining water cycles. Without them, chances of reaching a climate solution are vastly diminished. Cities must put forest conservation on their climate change agendas.

How can cities support "faraway" tropical forests?

Cities4Forests’ work begins with building awareness of the interdependence of cities and faraway forests and continues with mobilizing cities for forest conservation. On that front, the Partner Forest Program helps cities to establish partnerships with tropical forest landscapes where communities are doing the vital work of stewardship. Through these “local-to-local” partnerships, cities can help sequester millions of tons of carbon — a major step towards restoring the Earth’s biodiversity and carbon balance — while supporting the work and ways of life of the world’s best forest defenders. 

Connecting cities and tropical forests for planetary health and mutual benefit

How the partnerships work?

Around the world hundreds of forest communities are protecting the environment and producing forest-positive products that badly need the support of a stable market such as a city can provide. To support these enterprises, the Partner Forest Program pairs participating cities with a carefully selected forest community in our Partner Forest database.

These partnerships can take various forms, depending on need and interest. Partnerships can start, for example, with procurement of conservation timber for use in a city landmark, of forest carbon credits, or of non-timber forest products, like coffee, cocoa, or rubber. Complementary programming may include research and travel exchanges for citizens, students, and leaders.

Opportunities and outcomes

Establishing Partner Forests presents cities and forest communities with opportunities to:

  • develop exciting programs for residents and the public and private sector;

  • expand forest-positive business and conservation work;

  • connect youth across cultures and geographies in opportunities for learning and livelihoods;

  • build knowledge and awareness of tropical forests;

  • innovate financial models and business partnerships;

  • lead a global culture shift toward forest protection and restoration.

Partner Forests program introduction

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