Global governments have been discussing how to deal with climate change at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings since 1992. As the decades progress, emissions have continued to rise: We are now so close to the maximum atmospheric carbon dioxide the world can handle that as well as decarbonising our energy, transport and food infrastructure, and halting deforestation, countries will need to also remove emissions from the atmosphere.

The only scientifically proven way to do this is to plant and restore forests, but we must never forget that for people who live in and depend on forests, they’re not just carbon sinks: they are their pharmacy, their culture, their supermarket and their home.

They have an intimate understanding of their land and their environment. For them, restoring the forest is not just about protecting the climate, it’s about providing for their family and improving their future. No one is better placed to restore and protect our forests than the people whose livelihoods directly depend upon it.

Fern works with forest, climate and human rights experts to ensure our work benefits people, the climate and biodiversity. This means ensuring efforts to increase the carbon forests sequester are done as well as, not instead of emissions reduction work in other areas. We promote policy measures which increase biodiversity, and campaign for the involvement of local people and civil society in designing and implementing forest restoration projects. Together we can strengthen community land rights and achieve biodiverse restoration projects which store carbon for the long-term.

Key publications
Look at Missing Pathways to 1.5 °C to learn how the protection and restoration of ecosystems can tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and food security problems. Read Return of the Trees to find out how locally led restoration of natural forests can cool the climate. Discover community stories in our video Putting Down Roots; and read civil society's principles for achieving restoration which benefits, people, biodiversity and the climate. For more Information on the potential of European Forests to mitigate climate change read Protect and Restore, and how the EU should support forest restoration.