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Monday, September 7, 2015

129 million hectares lost to deforestation

About 129 million hectares of forest, an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa, have been lost since 1990, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The world's forests continue to shrink as populations increase and forest land is converted to agriculture and other uses, but over the past 25 years the rate of net global deforestation has slowed down by more than 50 per cent, according to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) comprehensive forest report-- The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015-- published today, September7.

The FAO study covers 234 countries and territories and was presented at this week's World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, launching the report in Durban, said, "Forests play a fundamental role in combating rural poverty, ensuring food security and providing people with livelihoods. And they deliver vital environmental services such as clean air and water, the conservation of biodiversity and combating climate change,"

"The direction of change is positive, but we need to do better. We will not succeed in reducing the impact of climate change and promoting sustainable development if we do not preserve our forests and sustainably use the many resources they offer us," he added.
Meanwhile, the net annual rate of forest loss has slowed from 0.18 per cent in the early 1990s to 0.08 per cent during the period 2010-2015, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

Africa and South America had the highest net annual loss of forests in 2010-2015, with 2.8 and 2 million hectares respectively, but the report notes how the rate of loss has "substantially decreased" from the previous five year period.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
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