John McMurtry and David Korten argue that by systemically depleting its social and environmental hosts, global capitalism has reached a carcinogenic stage. While there are life-protective forces in global governance, many are rendered ineffective by the routine functioning of global capitalism. The article applies this analysis to forests at two levels: the global forests regime (that is, public international law that seeks to govern forest use); and the broader structures and processes of global governance that affect forest use. The set of interactions between the two constitutes global forest governance. It is argued that in global forest governance carcinogenic life degrading forces prevail over healthy life conservation forces. The result is worldwide forest degradation. In this respect global forest governance represents a pathogenic invasion of the world's forests.