Deforestation Trending Up

According to new research, an area of tropical forest roughly the size of Switzerland was lost in 2022 alone. This staggering discovery shows that the political commitment of world leaders at COP26 to end deforestation is falling woefully short.

The study reveals that approximately 11 football pitches of forest were lost every minute last year, with Brazil being the primary contributor to deforestation. However, there was a significant reduction in forest loss in Indonesia and Malaysia, demonstrating it is possible to buck the trend.

The COP26 meeting in 2021 saw over 100 world leaders, including former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, sign the Glasgow Declaration on forests, pledging to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Despite this, the recent analysis by Global Forest Watch indicates that the promise made in Glasgow is not being upheld. Losses of tropical primary forests, which are crucial for mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity, have increased, with Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia and Indonesia leading the pack.

Monitoring the loss of tree cover through satellite images is relatively straightforward, although determining the exact year of tree loss can sometimes be uncertain. However, measuring deforestation, which refers to the permanent removal of natural forest cover caused by human activities, is more complex. Loss from fire, disease, storms, and losses within sustainable production forests do not qualify. Determining the extent of deforestation requires considering these factors and estimating the overall impact. Still, recent data indicates a 3.6% increase in global deforestation attributed to human causes in 2022 compared to 2021, contradicting the goals set at the Glasgow conference.

Source: BBC