November 20, 2013
Global Forest Loss Rate Has Accelerated

The lungs of the world are getting smaller.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A University of Maryland-led, multi-organizational team has created the first high-resolution global map of forest extent, loss and gain. This resource greatly improves the ability to understand human and naturally-induced forest changes and the local to global implications of these changes on environmental, economic and other natural and societal systems, members of the team say.

In a new study, the team of 15 university, Google and government researchers reports a global loss of 2.3 million square kilometers (888,000 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) of new forest.

Forest loss has accelerated in many countries. Brazil's loss rate, while lower than it used to be, is still quite high.

Their study, published online on November 14 in the journal Science, documents the new database, including a number of key findings on global forest change. For example, the tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2,101 square kilometers (811 square miles) per year. Brazilís well-documented reduction in deforestation during the last decade was more than offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola and elsewhere.

Globalization, industrialization, population growth (especially in Africa): it is hard to see how this trend will stop, let alone reverse. The wood is used for construction. The cleared land is used for crops. Of course topsoil loss accelerates as a result and loss of surface soil can topple civilizations.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 November 20 08:33 PM 

Anonymous said at November 22, 2013 10:20 AM:

I'm from Brazil, and there are lots of difficulties with diminishing the rate of forest cutting.
1. Tree cutters want money, and big old trees gives out more money than trees planted to be cut that grow fast.
2. There are people who want furniture made out of "noble wood" (big old trees) and will pay a lot for it
3. There are lots of cow cultivators that want lots of field with grass to have lots of cows.
4. The less native woods/ forests you have, the more space you have for human development/ economic profit. And makes people from these countries think: Europe an U.S.A. have destroyed most of their forests and want us to save the forests, while we get nothing in return.
5. Forests are huge places, therefore are hard to be completely protected.

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