U.S. farm and forest products groups are pressuring Congress to protect tropical rain forests with a new report on the economic effects of deforestation. The “Farms Here, Forests There: Tropical Deforestation and U.S. Competitiveness in Agriculture and Timber” report by David Gardiner & Associates and commissioned on behalf of National Farmers Union and Avoided Deforestation Partners, argues that overseas agriculture and logging are flooding the market with cheap forest products by cutting down the world’s rainforests.
According to the report, ending deforestation would boost revenue for U.S. producers by up to $267 billion by 2030 – approximately equivalent to the entire amount projected to be spent by farmers on energy during that time.
The report was supported by The National Farmers Union, the American Forest & Paper Association, the United Steelworkers (representing forest products workers), and the Ohio Corn Growers Association.
The report added that including affordable tropical forest offsets in U.S. climate legislation would save US agriculture and related industries an estimated $49 billion in compliance costs due to lower energy and fertilizer costs, while U.S. timber producers would see increases in revenue of $36 billion to $60 billion by 2030, with the biggest gains in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.