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New Data Shows Forest Loss Equal To One Football Field Every Second In 2017

New Data Shows Forest Loss Equal To One Football Field Every Second In 2017
New data from a global satellite survey suggests that every second in 2017, there was loss of forest of the size of more than one football pitch throughout the world. The loss for the entire year was of the same size of that of the whole of Italy.
Felling of trees at this huge rate - mostly done illegally, presents a very serious threat to the addressing issues of climate change and very significant decline of wildlife. 29.4 million hectares was the total loss of forest in 2017 as recorded by Global Forest Watch. That number is the second highest loss ever since such data had begun to be collected in 2001.
The rate of deforestation in tropical rainforests have doubled since 2008 whereas since 2003, the global tree cover has also doubled. Political instability in Brazil had reversed a falling trend. Forest destruction has increased in Colombia.
Record losses have been noted in the vast forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the other hand, there has been a 60 per cent drop in deforestation in Indonesia in 2017 because of lower number of forest fires and government action.
Loss of forests is a major contributor of carbon emissions which causes global warming and this emission is the same as that emitted by the US in total. US is the second biggest polluter in the world. A sixth mass extinction has been triggered in the last 40 years because of the halving of the population of wildlife and one of the key reasons for this is deforestation which destroys wildlife.
“The main reason tropical forests are disappearing is not a mystery – vast areas continue to be cleared for soy, beef, palm oil, timber, and other globally traded commodities,” said Frances Seymour at the World Resources Institute, which produces Global Forest Watch with its partners. “Much of this clearing is illegal and linked to corruption.”
Seymour said that despite the fact about one third of the targeted cuts in global emission by 2030 from protection of forest, just about 2 per cent of the total funding for climate action is provided for forest and land protection. “This is truly an urgent issue that should be getting more attention,” she said. “We are trying to put out a house fire with a teaspoon.”
The data also however shows that there is growth of new forests in countries like in China and India. However, the extent to which these new forests would offset the massive loss of forests is however not yet known. It can however be said that deforestation is significantly more than afforestation. According to an estimation, only about 15 per cent of the original forests that existed before human civilization exists today – about one forth have been razed while the rest have been fragmented or degraded.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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