Two Thirds Of The World’s Rainforest Has Been Destroyed
New data shows that humans have destroyed two thirds of the planet’s rainforests.
The analysis conducted by Rainforest Foundation Norway found that logging and land conservation is accountable for the largest amount of damage to rainforest.
Logging and land conservation is believed to have wiped out a concerning 34% of the world’s rainforest, and has degraded another 30%.
Rainforests prove vital in our ongoing battle against climate change as the forest’s vegetation there are described as ‘the largest living reservoir of carbon’, Reuters reports, which soaks up carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere.
The worst areas to have been affected be deforestation is those in South America’s Amazon and bordering rainforests.
Not only on the rainforests act as a weapon against climate change, the drastic decrease in their numbers also affects people’s livelihoods. According to the WWF, some 13.2 million people across the world have a job in the forest sector and another 41 million have a job that is related to the sector.
In addition to this, rainforest act as a home to 80% of the world’s land animals.
Tropical forest researcher Anders Krogh, author of the Rainforest Foundation Norway analysis, explained that the total rainforest lost over a 17 year period (between 2002–2019) equates to the size of France. He described the issue as a ‘terrifying cycle’.
According to Reuters, this rate of loss matches the annual level of destruction over the last 20 years. It’s said a football-field’s worth of forest vanishes every six seconds.
Looking at Brazil alone, the country has lost more than 11km² of its rainforest in just a year. This is the fourth consecutive year it has seen an increase in deforestation, the Rainforest Foundation Norway found.
Kari Asheim, Head of Policy at Rainforest Foundation Norway, said of the figures shared last year:
These figures confirm the image that Brazil is one of the world’s most voracious rainforest destroyers. We simply can not afford that. The Amazon rainforest is by far the world’s largest rainforest and half of it is located in Brazil. To be able to save the rainforest and meet the world’s climate goals, Brazil will have to be the locomotive of these efforts.
‘The deforestation is concentrated in specific zones of destruction that threaten to fragment the Amazon irreversibly, dooming the rainforest to extinction. These axis are often spread along the highways, existent or projected,’ Asheim added.
Southeast Asian rainforests came in second after the Brazilian rainforest in terms of forest destruction since 2002.
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CreditsReuters and 1 other
Rainforest Foundation Norway