Every year an area of rainforest the size of England and Wales is cut down.
This leaves local people homeless, drives animals and plants to extinction and releases more CO2 emissions, which cause climate change, than all of the world’s planes, trains and cars.
Tropical deforestation is an issue that affects us all.
The Rainforest Foundation tackles deforestation locally and globally. Locally it helps forest communities to gain land rights, challenge logging companies and manage forests for their own wellbeing and protection of their environment. Globally it campaigns to influence national and international laws to protect rainforests and their inhabitants.
Since it was founded in 1989 the Rainforest Foundation has helped indigenous and local communities to protect more than 100,000 square kilometers of rainforest .
Our Mission Statement
The mission of the Rainforest Foundation UK is to support indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world's rainforest in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfil their rights to land, life and livelihood by assisting them in:
1. Securing and controlling the natural resources necessary for their long term well being and managing these resources in ways which do not harm their environment, violate their culture or compromise their future.
2. Developing means to protect their individual and collective rights and obtain, shape and control basic services from the state.
In The Beginning
The Rainforest Foundation was founded in 1989 by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, after they saw first-hand the destruction of the Amazon rainforests, and the devastating impact it had on the lives of the indigenous peoples who lived there.
The Foundation's first major initiative was to campaign for the protection of the lands of the Kayapo Indians in Brazilian Amazonia. This resulted in 1993 in the legal recognition and demarcation of an area of more than 27,359 square kilometers.
Over the last 20 years the Foundation has expanded and diversified. Today there is the New York-based Rainforest Foundation Fund, which is generously backed by Sting. This provides funding, over USD 1.5 million in 2007, for three autonomous organisations - Rainforest Foundation US, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rainforest Foundation UK. These organisations directly support projects in more than 20 countries that protect tropical rainforests and the people that live in them.
A Different Approach
The Rainforest Foundation's approach differs from that of other organisations in that it is committed to both human rights and environmental protection.
Early attempts at environmental conservation often excluded local populations and sometimes resulted in forced expulsion from their traditional lands.
From the start the Rainforest Foundation believed that the best way to protect the rainforests is to let the indigenous people who have inhabited the areas for centuries control and manage the land.
Indigenous peoples' participation and their knowledge of the local ecology are now recognised as the most effective environmental management tools. Not only does it support practical projects in tropical rainforest areas, the Rainforest Foundation carries out international advocacy campaigns.
Experience has proven that the combination of practical work and lobbying, all of which is based on local experience, is the most powerful tool for lasting change.