The primary direct driver of global deforestation is the conversion of land to produce major agricultural commodities. Deforestation threatens biodiversity, soil and water health, and other ecosystem functions. It also increases the risk of transmitting zoonotic diseases, negatively affects communities and livelihoods, and serves as a major contributor to climate change. For more information about deforestation associated with agricultural commodity production, see Combatting International Deforestation Associated with Agricultural Commodity Production.

While a recent USDA assessment indicates that agricultural and timber production in the United States is not driving deforestation, the United States remains committed to global goals to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030 and restore critical ecosystems, as reflected in President Biden’s 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and the resulting Biden-Harris Administration Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks.

Domestically, USDA is committed to advancing the sustainable management of forests through science, programming, and policy, supporting carbon sequestration, climate resilience, and biodiversity. Since 2010, forest carbon stocks in the United States have increased by nearly 3.6 percent (2,000 MMT C). President Biden’s Earth Day 2022 Executive Order on Strengthening the Nation's Forests, Communities, and Local Economies bolsters domestic efforts with objectives aimed at safeguarding mature and old-growth forests on federal lands, strengthening reforestation partnerships across the country, combating global deforestation and deploying nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis.

Data and Analysis

On December 12, the Secretary of State (SOS) for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Steve Barclay announced draft legislation to stop products from illegal deforestation from being sold in the United Kingdom (UK).
On December 6, 2022, the Council of the European Union and European Parliament concluded negotiations on the EU’s Deforestation-Free Supply Chain Regulation.
On September 13 & 14, the European Union Parliament adopted its negotiating positions on Deforestation-Free Supply Chains regulations and revisions to the Renewable Energy Directive. The two files will now enter trilogue negotiations, where the Council, Parliament, and Commission will work to reach a compromise text.