Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2023 – The following statement was issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society on the introduction of the FOREST Act (Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade Act of 2023) in the US Senate and US House of Representatives.

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds Senators Brian Schatz and Mike Braun and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Brian Fitzpatrick for their bipartisan, bicameral leadership to conserve forests globally.

“Forests serve as strongholds for the vast majority of land-based plants and animals, support the livelihoods of some 1.6 billion people, and are an essential nature-positive solution to the climate crisis.

“The FOREST Act would tackle a significant driver of emissions from deforestation and biodiversity loss, curb the spillover of pathogens from wildlife to people that cause pandemics, and protect the ecological integrity of the world’s remaining forests. As the U.S. and partners seek to address commodity-driven deforestation they must work with all stakeholders including smallholder farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities and ensure social and environmental safeguards.”