Last year’s major tropical forests were destroyed at a ratio of 10 football fields per minute.
28 Apr CNN analysis report that The area of tropical forest destroyed in 2021 will be enough to cover the entire island of Cuba. and releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as India does year-round by burning fossil fuels.
An analysis by Global Forests Wortz of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the University of Maryland, USA, found that about 11.1 million hectares (about 43,000 square miles) of forest were destroyed, mostly from logging. and fire some of which were deliberately lit to make the area desolate and many more have been damaged by climate change.
The WRI reports that the losses are less severe than in 2020, but deforestation continues to occur at an alarming rate in the tropics. And in the lost forest area is primary tropical forest (sometimes referred to as virgin rainforest) destroyed at a rate of 3.75 million hectares (equivalent to 10 football fields) per minute.
especially Primary tropical forests are of great importance for the ecological balance of the planet. which provides life-sustaining oxygen and is a source of biodiversity.
Primary tropical forests are also rich in stored carbon. and when these forests are cut down or burned Will release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. which contributes to global warming Destruction of primary tropical forests alone released 2.5 gigatons of CO2 last year. Compared to the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning in India which is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world
Frances Seymour, senior scholar at WRI, told CNN: “It is important to understand that forests, especially tropical forests, are It is part of the global climate system. It is not a mechanical carbon sequestration tool. It actually influences the energy transfer and the amount of humidity in the atmosphere in a way that affects rainfall. which affects global circulation patterns.”
Fires are also playing a larger role in tropical forest loss. Seymour said there are compounding effects between deforestation and climate change. “When deforestation occurs when the forest is lost Not only does it create carbon in the atmosphere. But it also disrupts rainfall patterns and increases local temperatures in a way that makes remaining forest more vulnerable to fires and the hotter, drier climates that come with climate change.”
The analysis looked primarily at tropical forests. which can be found in different countries from Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo This is because more than 96 percent of deforestation or removal of man-made forests takes place there.
The findings were made using satellite imagery that assessed How does the tree cover change over time? Loss of forest cover or treetops in the tropics often means forests are destroyed. and in other countries Low logging may mean that the treetops are destroyed, for example in the event of a fire, but the forest is still intact.
However, the northern forests, which are found in cold climates In particular, Russia, Canada and Alaska experienced record tree cover losses last year. More than 8 million hectares of land was lost, up nearly a third from 2020, mainly because Russia suffered particularly severe fires. which lost 6.5 million hectares of trees
The analysis indicated that These fires can produce what scientists call feedback loops, where more fires produce more carbon. which leads to hot and dry climates which leads to more fires and so on.
In the tropics, more than 40 percent of the forest area occurred in Brazil last year, and about 1.5 million hectares of forest in the country disappeared from the map. Most of it comes from the Amazon, more than three times the Congo, where it lost the second most forest.
In Brazil, the main driver for deforestation is agricultural expansion. which is an increase of 9% between 2020 and 2021.
An analysis by WRI warns that forest loss is driving the Amazon to a turning point. It will no longer serve as one of the world’s most important carbon reservoirs. and could become a net source of CO2 emissions. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. and play an important role in biodiversity. control the weather and provide an ecosystem for the millions of people who live there.
Seymour said If passing through such a turning point Global efforts to curb global warming do not rise above 1.5-2°C, higher than pre-industrial levels. As stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement will be completely destroyed.
Among the rational findings The analysis provides some reasons to be optimistic. Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that have been fighting deforestation for decades. There has been a decline in tree loss every year for five years in a row, and in Indonesia alone. The amount of forest lost fell 25 percent last year.
Hidayah Hamzah, WRI’s top forest and swamp monitoring manager in Indonesia, said this was a sign that Corporate pledges and government action are underway. “This clearly indicates that corporate commitments and government action have worked. Indonesia is heading in the right direction to reach a climate agreement.”
However, Malaysia has lost one-fifth of its primary tropical forests since 2001, and a third since the 1970s.
Hamzah added that Indonesia’s success is partly due to the government’s postponement of logging permits for primary forests and peatlands. Including better forest fire surveillance The NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation) policy currently covers more than 80 percent of palm oil refining capacity in Indonesia and Malaysia. which is the world’s largest oil exporter and more than 80 percent of the pulp and the paper industry in Indonesia.
But the WRI also warned that as palm oil prices hit a 40-year high, the country’s forests could come under more pressure. and Indonesia temporarily lifted the suspension of new permits for oil palm plantations.
Although the total loss of tree cover decreased last year Annual updates are not consistent enough to meet global obligations. including being signed by more than 140 countries in the Glasgow climate talks last year to “Stop and reverse forest loss by 2030”
Seymour also warned Don’t rely too much on forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions, saying companies and countries These forests should be used above all carbon elimination efforts. by drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels or to compensate for emissions that are not possible with current technology.
The aviation industry is one example. Because carbon-free aviation technology is not yet widely available.
“We want them to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. and invest in new technology to help make flights carbon-free but at the same time Greenhouse gas emissions must remain constant. And compensating carbon credit buyers can provide the funding we desperately need to provide incentives to protect the world’s forests,” Seymour said.