NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 03:13
Despite all international agreements to combat deforestation, more forests were lost worldwide last year than the year before. This can be concluded from the annual report on this subject from a coalition of environmental organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Last year, around 6.6 million hectares of forest were lost worldwide, 4 percent more than in 2021. Most of the deforestation took place in tropical rainforests. About 4.1 million hectares of forest were lost there.
More than 140 countries agreed at the 2021 climate summit in Glasgow to actively combat deforestation. The promise is that deforestation must even be stopped by 2030. 350 million hectares of damaged landscape must also be restored by then, but for now deforestation and landscape damage are only increasing.
Climate change and biodiversity
Agriculture, road construction, forest fires and commercial logging are identified by the report as the main causes of deforestation. “Forests around the world are in crisis. The opportunity to make progress is passing us by,” warns environmental organization Climate Focus.
According to the report, saving tropical primary forests is 33 percent behind schedule, which could have major consequences for biodiversity. In addition, these forests are important in combating greenhouse gas emissions, as they retain much more CO2 than younger forests. If deforestation is not stopped, it could have a major impact on global measures against climate change.
Although the report describes a worrying increase in deforestation, the situation is not entirely hopeless, says lead author Franziska Haupt of Climate Focus. About 50 countries are indeed on track to stop deforestation and countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia have also made great strides in combating the destruction of forest areas. “Other countries should follow these countries’ example.”