The UN Climate Action Summit

The summit is designed to mobilize the climate action needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. One key area of interest is nature-based solutions, which can provide at least a third of the action required by 2030 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Join WCS scientists as they talk about the big ideas to take on the big challenges.

Forests for Life

As the planet continues to warm and wildlife species vanish at an unprecedented rate, five leading environmental organizations have come together to target the world’s greatest undervalued and unprotected solution to the climate and extinction crises—forests.

The 5 Great Forests Initiative

Together with our partners, we've launched a new project aimed at conserving these critical landscapes in Mesoamerica. Five million people depend on the five great forests. They keep half of the region's carbon stores locked away. But we're losing them. Among other things, the initiative aims to preserve over 24 million acres (10 million hectares) of land.

In the News

The Sink and the Safeguard

Lauren Oakes for Mongabay
The benefits of protecting and restoring intact forests for people and planet.

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The Thinning Fabric of Earth's Forest Cover

Tom Evans for Mongabay
More and more of the world’s remaining forests are switching from healthy core to degraded, carbon-emitting edges, or isolated patches.

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Fighting for Coral Reefs in a Warming World

Cristian Samper and Antha Williams for Scientific American
Climate change is putting them in danger. There’s still hope they can be saved, but we must take bold action.

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Greta and Mesoamerica's Five Great Forests

Jeremy Radachowsky & Chris Jordan for Mongabay
Mesoamerica’s forests are literally on fire. The region’s governments, Indigenous Peoples, civil society, and the broader conservation community now commit to protect them.

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Playing Both Offense and Defense on Climate

Lauren Oakes for Scientific American
We need to focus on responses to climate change that both reduce emissions and help people cope with an altered environment

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The Amazon is Burning

Carlos Durigan for Medium
Under threat: 34 million people; more than 1,500 bird species; 550 reptiles; 500 mammals; and a forest that stores up to 200 gigatonnes(GT) of carbon.

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Hope for Coral Reefs

Emily Darling for Oceanographic
With our planet changing faster than ever, we have to think big and act fast. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C is critical for the survival of coral reefs and for our own survival.

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The Critical Role of Indigenous Peoples

Michael Painter, David Wilkie, & James Watson for Scientific American
Evidence shows that many of nature’s remaining strongholds have maintained high natural values precisely because of the stewardship of local people over generations.

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Press Releases

Forests for Life

A new global partnership targets the planet’s great forests for urgent protection.

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Intact Forests Are Key to Addressing Global Climate Crisis

“We face an urgent challenge to ensure the world’s great intact forests are a priority for meeting global climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development targets,” says WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper.

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Critical New Initiative to Protect Mesoamerica’s Five Great Forests

NGOs, national governments, Indigenous Peoples and local communities join forces to protect Central America’s largest forests to benefit all life on earth.

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Cheat Sheet

We've got media availability and background for covering the UN Climate Action Summit. Key events run from Sunday, Sept. 22–Wednesday, Sept 25.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Support Our Work

Intact forests are being lost at twice the rate of forests overall. Help us secure nature's strongholds around the world before it's too late.


Nature's Climate Hub

To celebrate and endorse nature’s role as a climate solution, WCS is working with partners, including the Nature4Climate coalition, to present four days of programming that showcase this function in policy, in practice, and in communities. Here are some of the events WCS is involved in.

5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica

Sept. 22, 9–10am
A conversation focused on addressing the drivers of deforestation in Mesoamerica, especially illegal cattle ranching, on improving forest governance by strengthening management of protected areas, community forests, and improving livelihoods with forest-friendly and climate resilient economic alternatives.

Trouble Below the Canopy

Sept. 22, 11:30am–12:30pm
For storing carbon, the condition and health of a forest may be just as important as its size. But we have blind spots in the way we measure and manage forests. Join us as we discuss the climate costs of unseen forest degradation.

A Metric on Contemporary Forest Degradation

Sept. 25, 9–10am
There is extensive evidence that high ecological integrity leads to higher levels of many ecosystem values important to people, and the degradation of integrity is happening worldwide. The introduction of an innovative new metric for mapping contemporary forest degradation.

Heritage Colombia-HeCo

Sept. 25, 11:45am–12:45pm
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. The event will showcase HeCo as the national flagship program to help achieve the country achieve its ambitious environmental commitments.

Protecting essential ecosystems for a stable climate future

Sept. 25, 11:15am–12:45pm
Where are the places that we can’t afford to lose from a climate perspective? We will discuss the imperative to pay attention to these places now, even if the threats they face are medium- or long-term.

The Power of Nature in a Planetary Emergency

Sept. 25, 5–8pm
The event will focus on how nature-based solutions for climate can also deliver for biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Intact Forests

Intact forests, that is forests that are not significantly disturbed by industrial activities, are an irreplaceable part of the effort to restrict global temperature rise. They are indispensable both as natural storehouses for carbon and as a carbon sink, annually sequestering 1/4 of all emissions.

Intact forests are irreplaceable, holding immense and unique value for both the climate and the biosphere.

But today, intact forests are in rapid decline. From 2000 to 2016, we lost about 9% of these forests around the world. Projections suggest we will lose half by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken today. Our goal is to halt intact forest loss by 2030. Check out our strategy.

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What role can nature-based solutions play in combating climate change? What is WCS’s strategy to conserve intact forests? We spoke with Caleb McClennen, Vice President, Global Conservation.

Intact forests hold 11 years' worth of human-related emissions. If we protect them, says Joe Walston, Senior Vice President, Global Conservation Program, they can be part of the solution to reversing climate change.

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