The world lost an area of old-growth tropical rainforest the size of Switzerland last year, as deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon continued unabated, a forest monitoring project report said on Tuesday (June 27). Global Forest Watch, which is backed by the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI) and draws on forest data collected by the University of Maryland, revealed that about 41,000 sq km (16,000 sq miles) of tropical rainforest was lost in 2022. That was the final year of Jair Bolsonaro’s government in Brazil, which accounted for more than 40% of all losses.
Despite a recent global pledge to reach zero deforestation by 2030, tropical forest loss last year exceeded 2021 levels.
“2022 numbers are particularly disheartening,” said Francis Seymour, a WRI official. “We had hoped by now to see a signal in the data that we were turning the corner on forest loss.”
Global Forest Watch assessed ‘primary forests’, which includes mature forests that have not been cleared or regrown in recent history.
Such forests protect against climate change because they absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Last year’s losses in the tropics released some 2.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to India’s annual fossil fuel emissions, the report said.
Indonesia and Malaysia managed to keep forest loss near a record low, continuing a multiyear streak of stamping down deforestation driven by oil palm plantations.
Strict Indonesian policies, such as a moratorium on new licences in primary forest and peatland, helped the turnabout.
Other forest-rich nations have struggled to keep up with Asia’s progress. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bolivia suffered the greatest losses of tropical forest after Brazil.
Commodity agriculture was largely responsible for deforestation in Bolivia, experts said, as the government supports agribusiness expansion. Bolivia is one of few nations not to join the zero-deforestation pledge.
But that pledge has not yet made a difference. The Global Forest Watch analysis found deforestation in 2022 was more than 10,000 sq km (3,900 sq miles) in excess of what would be needed to halt it by 2030.
Rod Taylor, WRI’s global forests program director said,
We are far off track and trending in the wrong direction.
The world lost 10% less forest in 2022 than 2021, as fewer big fires burned in the Russian boreal forest, though the country still lost 43,000 sq km (16,600 sq miles) of tree cover last year.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.