Their study found that PNG's forests were being cleared or degraded at a rate of 1.4% per year in 2002, increasing to 1.7% per year in 2007. If clearing and degradation continues unchecked, over half of the forest that existed when PNG became independent from Australia in 1975 will have been destroyed by 2021, according to the report. The Brazilian Amazon is losing forest at the rate of 0.9% per year.
Asian industrialization is raising the demand for timber. So the rate of destruction will probably accelerate.
Logging and road building are already leading to erosion and fragmentation of ecosystems harboring some of the world’s most varied, and least-studied, wildlife, said Phil Shearman, the lead author and director of the Remote Sensing Center of the University of Papua New Guinea. The study is available online at gis.mortonblacketer.com.au/upngis/.
Although it only accounts for less than 0.5% of the Earth's land cover, the heavily forested island nation is home to an estimated 6-7% of the planet's species.
Papua New Guinea's tropical rainforest - the world's third largest - is not only being logged by timber firms but also cleared for subsistence farming, in a country of 6m people with one of the highest population growth rates in the world.
So far I do not see technological advances slowing the rate of habitat destruction. The opposite seems to be the case.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 June 02 11:14 PM Trends Habitat Loss|