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80% of deforestation set to occur in just 11 areas



Eleven places in the world will account of over 80% of deforestation by 2030, according to a report published by WWF. Between 2010 and 2030 these deforestation fronts could lose up to 170 million hectares of forest unless action is taken.

The Living Forests Report builds on previous analysis that suggested more than 230 million hectares of forest will disappear by mid-century if no action is taken. WWF argues that forest loss must be reduced to near zero by the end of this decade in order to avoid “dangerous climate change and economic losses”. The report examines where deforestation is likely to occur in the near term, its main causes and potential solutions.

The eleven ‘deforestation fronts’ identified are the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the Cerrado, Chocco-Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Eastern Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea and Sumatra. Ten of these areas are in the tropics and all are home to indigenous communities and rich biodiversity.

Rob Taylor, director of WWF’s global forest programme, said, “Imagine a forest stretching across Germany, France, Spain and Portugal wiped out in just 20 years.

“We’re looking at how we can tackle that risk and save the communities and cultures that depend on forests, and ensure forests continue to store carbon, filter our water, supply wood and provide habitat for millions of species.”

The report notes globally the biggest causes of deforestation is expanding agriculture, including commercial livestock, palm oil and soy production. A separate study released earlier this year linked EU imports to driving illegal deforestation.

Other causes highlighted are encroachment by small-scale farmers and unsustainable logging and fuel wood collection contributing to forest degradation, Mining, hydroelectricity and other infrastructure projects are also impacting forests by bring new roads that encourage settlers and agriculture.

Taylor added, “The threats to forests are bigger than one company or industry, and they often cross national boarders. This means collaborative land-use decision-making that accounts for the needs of business, communities and nature.”

Photo: crustmania via Flickr

Further reading:

Santander commits to cutting funding for deforestation firm

Prince Charles calls for action on deforestation

Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser come out top in deforestation rankings

New platform tracks corporate deforestation commitments

EU one of the largest importers of illegal deforestation products