Deforestation Has Far-Reaching Consequences, Including The Loss of Biodiversity
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According to Deforestation Statistics, Deforestation is the process of clearing or removal of forests or woodlands, typically for agriculture, logging, or urbanization. It is a significant environmental issue with far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, climate change, and human livelihoods. Deforestation has been a cause for concern globally due to its detrimental effects on the planet.
Table of Contents
- Approximately 14.8 million hectares of forest are lost as of June 2023.
- The world’s forests have decreased by about 31% since the beginning of agriculture.
- The largest contributor to deforestation is agricultural expansion, accounting for about 70% of deforestation in tropical regions.
- The Amazon rainforest has experienced significant, with over 17% of the forest cover lost in the last 50 years.
- Southeast Asia has one of the highest deforestation rates globally, with an estimated loss of 15.8 million hectares between 2001 and 2022.
- Deforestation contributes to approximately 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a significant driver of climate change.
- Deforestation affects biodiversity, with an estimated 80% of terrestrial species living in forests.
- 10,000 years ago, 71% of the Earth’s land surface (10.6 billion hectares) was covered by forests, shrubs, and wild grasslands.
- Today, approximately half of this land is predominantly used for agriculture, grazing, and urban settlements.
- The current total surface covered by forests and grasslands has decreased to around 4.1 billion hectares.
- Forest loss is occurring at a rapid pace, equivalent to losing forests at a rate of 27 soccer fields per minute.
- Over 4.2 million hectares of tree cover was lost in Russia, which includes both deforestation and natural causes such as fire.
- Approximately 3.3 million hectares of tree cover were lost in Brazil.
- Global tree cover loss has exceeded 20 million hectares per year for most of the past decade.
- As of 2021, the Southeast Asian rainforest was estimated to be a net carbon emitter, with emissions exceeding its removal capacity. In the Amazon, emissions, and sinks were nearly balanced.
- Large-scale forestry operations in managed forests and tree plantations led to the loss of approximately 6.7 billion hectares of tree cover. Commodity-driven deforestation and urbanization contributed to around 4.9 million hectares of tree cover loss.
Causes of Deforestation
- Agricultural Expansion
- Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, accounting for approximately 80% of deforestation worldwide.
- Small-scale farmers are responsible for 25% of global deforestation, while commercial agriculture contributes to the remaining 75%.
- Logging for timber and wood products is a significant driver of deforestation, especially in tropical rainforests.
- It is estimated that logging accounts for around 15%.
- Infrastructure Development
- The construction of roads, dams, mining operations, and urban expansion leads to deforestation.
- Infrastructure development is responsible for roughly 10%.
- Forest Fires
- Forest fires, both natural and human-caused, contribute to deforestation.
- While natural fires are a natural part of some ecosystems, human-induced fires, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, exacerbate deforestation.
- Forest fires are responsible for approximately 5%.
- Fuelwood Collection and Charcoal Production
- The reliance on wood fuel for cooking and heating in many developing countries drives deforestation.
- Fuelwood collection and charcoal production account for about 5%.
- Mining and Extraction
- Mining activities, including minerals, oil, and gas, often involve clearing forests and destroying ecosystems.
- Mining contributes to approximately 7%.
- Each year, approximately 50,000 species are lost.
- Rainforest ingredients contribute to 25% of Western drugs and pharmaceuticals.
- The rainforest is a vital source of 25% of all cancer-fighting drugs.
- Alarmingly, 75% of tropical rainforests have lost their ability to adequately recover from wildfires and drought.
- Deforestation is a major driver of biodiversity loss, with an estimated 80% of terrestrial biodiversity residing in forests.
- Every minute, an area equivalent to 27 football fields is lost, resulting in the extinction of countless plant and animal species.
- Deforestation accounts for approximately 10% to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Tropical alone is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector.
Deforestation in Amazon
- The Amazon rainforest lost approximately 8,054 square kilometers (3,103 square miles) of forest cover in 2020.
- Between 2000 and 2020, the Amazon rainforest lost around 513,016 square kilometers (198,077 square miles) of forest, an area roughly equivalent to the size of Spain.
- The annual deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon decreased by 70% between 2004 and 2019, from 27,772 square kilometers (10,722 square miles) to 8,054 square kilometers (3,103 square miles).
- The main drivers in the Brazilian Amazon are illegal logging, large-scale agriculture (primarily cattle ranching and soybean production), and infrastructure development.
- The Brazilian Amazon contains a network of protected areas, including national parks, sustainable use reserves, and indigenous territories, covering approximately 45% of the region.
- The Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, housing an estimated 10% of the world’s known species. It poses a severe threat to this unique ecosystem and its wildlife.
Deforestation Statistics by Country
- Brazil: Between August 2019 and July 2020, Brazil lost 11,088 square kilometers of forest, a 9.5% increase compared to the previous year.
- Indonesia: From 2001 to 2019, Indonesia lost approximately 26.6 million hectares of forest, making it one of the highest deforestation rates globally.
- Democratic Republic of Congo: The Democratic Republic of Congo lost an average of 0.48 million hectares of forest per year between 2001 and 2019.
- Malaysia: Malaysia lost around 2.9 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
- Bolivia: Between 2001 and 2019, Bolivia lost approximately 7.8 million hectares of forest.
- Paraguay: Paraguay lost around 3.7 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
- Cambodia: Cambodia lost approximately 1.5 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
- Myanmar (Burma): Myanmar lost around 5.2 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
- Nigeria: Nigeria lost approximately 4.6 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
- Australia: Australia lost around 6.3 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019.
He has been helping in business of varied scales, with key strategic decisions. He is a specialist in healthcare, medical devices, and life-science, and has accurately predicted the trends in the market. Anurag is a fervent traveller, and is passionate in exploring untouched places and locations. In his free time, he loves to introspect and plan ahead.
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