Policy Options for the World's Primary Forests in Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Policy Options for the World's Primary Forests in Multilateral Environmental Agreements


Around the world, primary forest continue to decline. The authors of this article recognize that international forest policies is one means to slow or turn around these trends and thus they identify four new actions that can provide a policy foundation for key international negotiations.

Conclusions & Takeaways

This article argues that the protection of primary forests is an issue of global concern, since the world's primary forests are located evenly between developing and developed countries. The authors recommend that primary forest protection be addressed in multilateral environmental agreements in a more targeted and comprehensive way. This could be achieved through the following four actions: 1) highlight within international negotiations that the continued existence of primary forests is a matter of global concern; 2) include primary forests in environmental accounting processes; 3) prioritize the principle of avoided loss; and 4) acknowledge and accept the important role that indigenous and community restoration and conservation play for primary forest protection.


Mackey B, DellaSala DA, Kormos C, et al. Policy Options for the World\textquotesingles Primary Forests in Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Conservation Letters. 2014;8:139–147. doi:10.1111/conl.12120.


  • Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Southport, Australia
  • Geos Institute, Ashland, OR, USA
  • The Wild Foundation, Boulder, CO, USA
  • The Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Zoological Society of London, London UK