On February 15, 2023, the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act (S.4859) was re-introduced by State Senator Liz Krueger. This act would regulate the importation of items that cause deforestation in tropical forests.
Tropical rainforests hold between 50-80% of terrestrial biodiversity, and tropical deforestation contributes at least 10% of global carbon emissions. The greatest driver of tropical deforestation is rainforests being burnt down to make room for pasturelands and plantations to produce goods like beef, soy, timber, paper, palm oil and more. Many of these products are sold by American companies to U.S. consumers and state departments and agencies. The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act would require businesses selling goods to state departments and agencies to certify that those items didn’t contribute to tropical deforestation.
The New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act would be a giant leap in American politics, presenting one of the most comprehensive tropical forest protection regulations in the country. Keeping tropical forests standing is essential to countering the climate crisis, which is crucial to protect New York from superstorms, floods, heatwaves and more. Tropical forests are also home to Indigenous peoples and countless species at risk of extinction, such as orangutans and pygmy sloths.
In this bill’s re-introduction, all mention of regulating timber, paper and wood pulp from boreal forests has been removed, despite best efforts from the bill’s sponsor to keep them in. Boreal forests, comprised of spruces, pines and aspens, ring our Northern hemisphere – covering billions of acres in Canada, Russia and China. Boreal forests store twice as much carbon per acre as do tropical forests, and the Canadian boreal forest is the largest intact ecosystem left in the world, making it a priceless habitat. Unfortunately, lobbying by the Canadian government and the forestry industry forced the boreal’s removal, leaving this critical ecosystem vulnerable to continued degradation.
Watch a recording of our recent webinar to learn about the New York Tropical Deforestation-Free Procurement Act from the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Liz Krueger, and her Director of Communications and Environmental Policy, Justin Flagg.
Our beef with deforestation: Policies to protect tropical forests
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