#AceNewsReport – Nov.21: But in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest it has hit its highest level in over 15 years – and progress elsewhere is challenging…….
#ClimateChange Report: Deforestation: Which countries are still cutting down trees?AFTER World leaders have pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.
By Reality Check team
Brazil: Illegal logging continues
Some 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil, and it plays a vital role in absorbing harmful CO2 that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.
After falling steadily since 2004, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has risen again, according to the country’s National Space Research Institute (INPE).
Its latest report found that deforestation increased by 22% in the last year, with 13,235 sq km (5,110 sq miles) of forest lost.
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been criticised for “anti-environment” policies, such as encouraging agriculture and mining in the Amazon.
He has cut the funding for the government agencies that are responsible for prosecuting farmers and loggers who break environmental law. Fines for illegal logging fell by 20% in 2020.
Exact figures are not available, but recent studies suggest as much as 94% of deforestation and habitat destruction in Brazil could be illegal.
Brazil is not the only country responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon – neighbouring countries, including Bolivia, also contribute.
Last year, Bolivia lost almost 300,000 hectares of tropical forest – the fourth-highest in the world.
Congo basin: Agriculture and mining
The Congo forest basin is the second-largest rainforest in the world. More than half of it lies within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace says illegal logging – by both large and small companies – is leading to deforestation. Although the US and EU have banned importing illegal timber, it still gets smuggled outside the country.
Other threats include small-scale subsistence agriculture, clearing for charcoal and fuel, urban expansion and mining.
In the past five years, the annual loss of primary forest has been nearly half a million hectares, according to Global Forest Watch.
President Felix Tshisekedi last month ordered an audit of some of the leases allocated to harvest public forests – including one for more than 1.4 million hectares – amid allegations of corruption. The move was welcomed by campaigners.
But earlier this year, the government also announced a plan to lift a ban dating back to 2002 on new logging operations – although it has not yet been implemented.
Greenpeace says that would contradict commitments made earlier this year to protect the forest and increase forest cover by 8%.
Indonesia: Palm oil plantations
Indonesia has been among the world’s top five countries for forest loss for the past two decades.
According to data from Global Forest Watch, the country lost 9.75 million hectares of primary forest between 2002 and 2020.
President Joko Widodo pledged in 2014 to crack down on deforestation by tackling the main contributor – clearing land for oil palm plantations.
Up to 80% of fires were set for this purpose, according to official data.
In 2016, a record 929,000 hectares of forest disappeared, but there’s been a steady decrease in the rate of deforestation since then.
By 2020, the annual loss was down to 270,000 hectares.
In 2019, President Widodo issued a three-year moratorium on new forest clearance, covering about 66 million hectares of primary forest and peatland. This was extended indefinitely this year.
What is the plan to stop deforestation?
Forests absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) – a major contributor to global warming – so cutting down trees can have a big impact on climate change.
The UN says 420 million hectares (one billion acres) of forest have been lost since 1990. Agriculture is the main reason for this.
More than 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, at the COP26 summit.
There have been efforts to protect forests before.
In 2014 the UN announced a deal to halve deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030.
Then, in 2017, it set another target to increase forested land by 3% worldwide by 2030.
But deforestation continued at “an alarming rate”, according to a 2019 report, with serious consequences for the fight against climate change.
There has been some reforestation, through natural growth or planting, but trees need years to mature before they can fully absorb CO2.
Over the past decade 4.7 million hectares of forest were still lost annually – with Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia among the countries worst affected.
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#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Nov.21: 2021:
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