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Zero deforestation special

A year ago today, the New York Declaration on Forests set a daring goal: a world without deforestation. But it didn’t lay out a plan for how to get there. The agreement – to cut deforestation in half by 2020, and eliminate it entirely by 2030 – was signed by 30 national governments, 50 private companies, and many nongovernmental organizations and indigenous peoples on 23 September 2014 during the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

Over the past 12 months, governments, NGOs and corporations have tried to find answers to the many questions the declaration left open-ended. “The pledge is very new, but there’s been significant work done over the last year on addressing a number of the implementation issues,” says Steven Lawry, Director of Forests and Governance Research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

What exactly does zero deforestation mean? Some argue that the pledge should aim for ‘zero gross deforestation’, which means no forested areas are cleared to make room for a commodity, like palm oil, paper and pulp, beef or soy.