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The World Resources Institute reported this week that nearly 30 million acres of forest were destroyed globally in 2019, an increase of 3% over 2018, with the heaviest losses in the tropics. How much forest is that? It’s a football field every 6 seconds. Brazil led the world (by a huge margin) due to the major fires in the Amazon. And because of the particularly warm spring in the Arctic, scientists are now seeing “zombie” fires across the region which are remnants of the record blazes that occurred there last year.
Why This Matters: Our best natural defense against climate change is holding on to mature forests — and it is also one of the key ways to defend against pandemics. Deforestation is literally killing us and the planet. Humans are the main culprits of tree loss — according to the report, deforestation for commercial purposes, such as timber, farming, and mining was a greater source of the decline than climate-related fires. And in the Arctic, firest are literally popping up again from within the soil where they had been hibernating — which does not bode well for this summer.
The World Resources Report also expresses concern about forest loss in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic due to a lack of enforcement of rules against deforestation and a higher incidence of illegal logging and fires. In addition, due to the global economic downturn, some countries may attempt to re-start their economies with extractive industries, as was the case in Indonesia during the Asian Financial Crisis. 2019’s forest loss number was the third highest in the last 20 years. If the trees had remained standing, it would have been the equivalent of taking 400 million cars off the road.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The British government will pay landowners for creating new woodlands thanks to a new £16 million program by the country’s Forestry Commission. The fund will financially reward woodlands that help wildlife, increase public access, and reduce flooding, The Guardian reports. It’ll provide money for planting trees as well as […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As wildfires have become increasingly common across the West, there’s been a growing emphasis on forest management as a means of preventing and mitigating the effects of blazes. Emerging science suggests that a new way of replanting forests could protect areas from fires — rather than planting trees individually, […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The Biden administration has announced that it will “replace or repeal” a Trump rollback of the Clinton-Era “roadless rule” in the Tongass National Forest. The roadless rule protected 9.4 million acres of the forest, prohibiting road construction and timber harvesting. The Trump administration rolled back the rule in October 2020 to ease […]
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