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Loss of old growth forest continues
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
October 06, 2010


More coverage: Rainforest loss slows

A new global assessment of forest stocks by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows continuing loss of primary forests since 2005 despite gains in the extent of protected areas.

FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 reveals some 13 million hectares of forest were cleared between 2000 and 2010, down from around 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s. Loss of primary forest—mostly a consequence of logging—averaged 4.2 million hectares per year, down from 4.7 million hectares per year in the 1990s, but the figures exclude Canada, which doesn't report any change in old growth forest cover despite being a major timber exporter.


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Among countries with significant primary forest cover, Nigeria had the fastest rate of loss (which does not neccessarily reflect dforestation, but can mean first time selective logging of old growth forest), approaching 20 percent per year from 2005 to 2010, followed by South Korea (3.95 percent per year), Malawi (3.77 percent), Guatemala (3.72 percent), Sierra Leone (3.21 percent), Central African Republic (2.94 percent), Gabon (2.16 percent), and Nicaragua (2.16 percent). Brazil led all countries in total primary forest loss during the 2005-2010 period, losing 2.3 million hectares per year. It was followed by Papua New Guinea (427,000 hectares per year) and Gabon (330,000 ha). Primary forests today account for 36 percent (1.4 billion ha) of the world's forest area. 81 countries reported they have no remaining primary cover, although in some cases this may be due to a lack of data.

The FAO report shows that while deforestation slowed in the 2000s relative to the 1990s, forest loss accelerated during the second half of the decade, led by Brazil (2.19 million hectares per year), Australia (924,000 ha), Indonesia (685,000 ha), Nigeria (410,000 ha), and Tanzania (403,000 ha). But Brazil's rate actually represents a reduction relative to the 2000-2005 period when 3.09 million hectares were lost per year.

The report estimates some 13 percent of the world's forest area now lies in legally established protected areas. With nearly 89 million hectares under protection, Brazil leads the world in protecting forest areas.



Plantations

The FAO report finds that tree plantations continue to expand, helping offset the loss of natural forests. Temperate countries report the largest extent of planted forests, but China led the world in expansion over the past 20 years, planting an average of 1.9 million hectares of plantations per year. In the tropics, India reported the largest total increase in planted forest area (5 million hectares) over the past two decades. Oil palm plantation expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia was excluded from the estimates since FAO considers oil palm an agricultural crop, rather than a 'planted forest'.



Socio-economic findings

FAO's assessment finds that the forestry sector is generally a money-losing proposition for governments. Public expenditure on forestry averaged $7.50 per hectare worldwide, but exceeded $20 per hectare in Asia. Total forest revenue collection was about $4.50 per hectare globally. Forest management and conservation directly employs about 10 million people worldwide, although many more depend on forests for informal livelihoods. The total value of forest products was estimated at $122 billion for 2005. Timber accounted for 71 percent of the value, followed by non-wood forest products (15 percent) and fuelwood (14 percent). Industrial roundwood (logs) had an average value of $51 per cubic meter.

About 80 percent of the global forest area is publicly owned, while 18 percent is privately held.


Logging of old-growth or primary forests is a hot-button issue for environmentalists. While selective logging can preserve most of the ecological functions and biodiversity of untouched forests, logged forests are more likely to eventually be cleared entirely for agriculture. Still, loss of primary forest does not necessarily reflect "deforestation".
Forest fires

FAO reports fire is significantly under-appreciated as a threat to forests. An average of 1 percent of forest cover was reported to be "significantly affected" each year by forest fires, but this figure likely represents a significant underestimate since many countries did not report data. More than 90 percent of fires are classified as wildlifes, rather than prescribed burns.

Forest Resources Assessment 2010

The Forest Resources Assessment 2010 contains data from 233 countries. More than 900 experts from 178 countries contributed to the report, which was four years in preparation.

While the FAO remains the standard for statistics on forest cover, the data collection process suffers from self-reporting: some countries report more accurately than others. FAO is working with partners on a global remote sensing survey of forests that will help better monitor changes in forest cover and land use. Furthermore, rising interest in the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism, has sparked new independent efforts to track forests.

Forest cover data

CountryForest areaForest areaTotal forest cover
Change
2010199020002010 2010 vs 2000
1 000 ha"% of land area"1000 ha1000 ha1000 ha
Angola5848047609765972858480-2.09%
Botswana1135120137181253511351-9.45%
Comoros321283-62.50%
Djibouti6n.s.6660.00%
Eritrea153215162115761532-2.79%
Ethiopia1229611151141370512296-10.28%
Kenya34676370835823467-3.21%
Lesotho4414042444.76%
Madagascar1255322136921312212553-4.34%
Malawi323734389635673237-9.25%
Mauritius3517393935-10.26%
Mayotte1437181614-12.50%
Mozambique3902250433784118839022-5.26%
Namibia72909876280327290-9.24%
Réunion88358787881.15%
Seychelles41884141410.00%
Somalia674711828275156747-10.22%
South Africa924189241924192410.00%
Swaziland563334725185638.69%
Uganda298815475138692988-22.77%
Tanzania3342838414953746233428-10.77%
Zambia4946867528005113449468-3.26%
Zimbabwe1562440221641889415624-17.31%
Eastern and Southern Africa26751727304312285906267517-6.43%
Algeria14921166715791492-5.51%
Egypt70n.s.44597018.64%
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya217n.s.2172172170.00%
Mauritania242n.s.415317242-23.66%
Morocco5131115049501751312.27%
Sudan6994929763817049169949-0.77%
Tunisia10066643837100620.19%
Western Sahara70737077077070.00%
Northern Africa788148851237922478814-0.52%
Benin456141576150614561-9.88%
Burkina Faso564921684762485649-9.59%
Burundi1727289198172-13.13%
Cameroon1991642243162211619916-9.95%
Cape Verde85215882853.66%
Central African Republic2260536232032290322605-1.30%
Chad115259131101231711525-6.43%
Congo2241166227262255622411-0.64%
Côte d'Ivoire10403331022210328104030.73%
Democratic Republic of the Congo15413568160363157249154135-1.98%
Equatorial Guinea162658186017431626-6.71%
Gabon22000852200022000220000.00%
Gambia480484424614804.12%
Ghana494022744860944940-18.94%
Guinea654427726469046544-5.21%
Guinea-Bissau202272221621202022-4.62%
Liberia432945492946294329-6.48%
Mali1249010140721328112490-5.96%
Niger12041194513281204-9.34%
Nigeria90411017234131379041-31.18%
Rwanda4351831834443526.45%
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha262220.00%
Sao Tome and Principe27282727270.00%
Senegal847344934888988473-4.78%
Sierra Leone272638311829222726-6.71%
Togo2875685486287-40.95%
Western and Central Africa32808832359803343434328088-4.47%
Africa67441923749238708564674419-4.82%
China2068612215714117700020686116.87%
Democratic People's Republic of Korea566647820169335666-18.27%
Japan24979692495024876249790.41%
Mongolia 108987125361171710898-6.99%
Republic of Korea622263637062886222-1.05%
East Asia2546262220919822681525462612.26%
Bangladesh144211149414681442-1.77%
Bhutan3249693035314132493.44%
Brunei Darussalam38072413397380-4.28%
Cambodia1009457129441154610094-12.58%
India68434236393965390684344.66%
Indonesia94432521185459940994432-5.01%
Lao People's Democratic Republic1575168173141653215751-4.72%
Malaysia2045662223762159120456-5.26%
Maldives131110.00%
Myanmar3177348392183486831773-8.88%
Nepal363625481739003636-6.77%
Pakistan16872252721161687-20.27%
Philippines7665266570711776657.70%
Singapore232220.00%
Sri Lanka186029235020821860-10.66%
Thailand1897237195491900418972-0.17%
Timor-Leste74250966854742-13.11%
Viet Nam13797449363117251379717.67%
South and South-east Asia29437335325423301143294373-2.25%
Afghanistan135021350135013500.00%
Armenia2629347304262-13.82%
Azerbaijan936119369369360.00%
Bahrain11n.s.n.s.1-
Cyprus173191611721730.58%
Georgia274239277927682742-0.94%
Iran (Islamic Republic of)1107571107511075110750.00%
Iraq82528048188250.86%
Israel15471321531540.65%
Jordan9819898980.00%
Kazakhstan33091342233653309-1.66%
Kuwait6n.s.35620.00%
Kyrgyzstan954583685895411.19%
Lebanon137131311311374.58%
Occupied Palestinian Territory929990.00%
Oman2n.s.2220.00%
Qatar00000-
Saudi Arabia977n.s.9779779770.00%
Syrian Arab Republic491337243249113.66%
Tajikistan41034084104100.00%
Turkey11334159680101461133411.71%
Turkmenistan412794127412741270.00%
United Arab Emirates31742453103172.26%
Uzbekistan327683045321232761.99%
Yemen54915495495490.00%
Western and Central Asia4351344148942207435133.09%
Asia592512195761105701645925123.92%
Albania776287897697760.91%
Andorra16361616160.00%
Austria3887473776383838871.28%
Belarus8630427780827386304.32%
Belgium 678226776676781.65%
Bosnia and Herzegovina2185432210218521850.00%
Bulgaria39273633273375392716.36%
Croatia1920341850188519201.86%
Czech Republic2657342629263726570.76%
Denmark5441344548654411.93%
Estonia221752209022432217-1.16%
Faroe Islandsn.s.n.s.n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Finland2215773218892245922157-1.34%
France15954291453715353159543.91%
Germany11076321074111076110760.00%
Gibraltar00000-
Greece3903303299360139038.39%
Guernseyn.s.3n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Holy See00000-
Hungary2029231801190720296.40%
Iceland30n.s.9183066.67%
Ireland7391146563573916.38%
Isle of Man363330.00%
Italy9149317590836991499.32%
Jersey151110.00%
Latvia3354543173324133543.49%
Liechtenstein7437770.00%
Lithuania2160341945202021606.93%
Luxembourg87338687870.00%
Maltan.s.1n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Monaco 00000-
Montenegro543405435435430.00%
Netherlands365113453603651.39%
Norway100653391309301100658.21%
Poland9337308881905993373.07%
Portugal3456383327342034561.05%
Republic of Moldova3861231932438619.14%
Romania6573296371636665733.25%
Russian Federationa80909049808950809269809090-0.02%
San Marino00000-
Serbia27133123132460271310.28%
Slovakia1933401922192119330.62%
Slovenia1253621188123312531.62%
Spain18173361381816988181736.98%
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands00000-
Sweden28203692728127389282032.97%
Switzerland1240311151119412403.85%
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia998399129589984.18%
Ukraine9705179274951097052.05%
United Kingdom2881122611279328813.15%
Europe10050014598947199823910050010.68%
Anguilla6606660.00%
Antigua and Barbuda10221010100.00%
Aruban.s.2n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Bahamas515515155155150.00%
Barbados8198880.00%
Bermuda1201110.00%
British Virgin Islands4244440.00%
Cayman Islands13501313130.00%
Cuba28702620582435287017.86%
Dominica4560504745-4.26%
Dominican Republic1972411972197219720.00%
Grenada17501717170.00%
Guadeloupe6439676564-1.54%
Haiti1014116109101-7.34%
Jamaica33731345341337-1.17%
Martinique49464949490.00%
Montserrat3244330.00%
Netherlands Antilles111110.00%
Puerto Rico5526228746455218.97%
Saint Kitts and Nevis11421111110.00%
Saint Lucia47774447470.00%
Saint Martin (French part)1191110.00%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines27682526273.85%
Saint Barthélemy000b00-
Trinidad and Tobago22644241234226-3.42%
Turks and Caicos Islands34803434340.00%
United States Virgin Islands2058242220-9.09%
Caribbean6933305902643469337.76%
Belize139361158614891393-6.45%
Costa Rica2605512564237626059.64%
El Salvador28714377332287-13.55%
Guatemala365734474842083657-13.09%
Honduras519246813663925192-18.77%
Nicaragua311426451438143114-18.35%
Panama325144379233693251-3.50%
Central America1949938257172198019499-11.29%
Canada310134343101343101343101340.00%
Greenlandn.s.n.s.n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Mexico6480233702916675164802-2.92%
Saint Pierre and Miquelon3133330.00%
United States of America304022332963353001953040221.27%
North America678961336767646770836789610.28%
North and Central America70539333708383705497705393-0.01%
American Samoa18891818180.00%
Australia14930019154500154920149300-3.63%
Cook Islands16651516160.00%
Fiji10145695398010143.47%
French Polynesia1554255b10515547.62%
Guam26472626260.00%
Kiribati12151212120.00%
Marshall Islands13701313130.00%
Micronesia64926464640.00%
Nauru00000-
New Caledonia839468398398390.00%
New Zealand8269317720826682690.04%
Niue1972212019-5.00%
Norfolk Islandn.s.12n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Northern Mariana Islands3066343230-6.25%
Palau40883840400.00%
Papua New Guinea2872663315233013328726-4.67%
Pitcairn4834440.00%
Samoa171601301711710.00%
Solomon Islands221379232422682213-2.43%
Tokelau00000-
Tonga9139990.00%
Tuvalu1331110.00%
Vanuatu440364404404400.00%
Wallis and Futuna Islands6426660.00%
Oceania19138423198744198381191384-3.53%
Argentina2940011347933186129400-7.72%
Bolivia5719653627956009157196-4.82%
Brazil51952262574839545943519522-4.84%
Chile16231221526315834162312.51%
Colombia6049955625196150960499-1.64%
Ecuador98653613817118419865-16.69%
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)00000-
French Guiana808298818881188082-0.44%
Guyana15205771520515205152050.00%
Paraguay1758244211571936817582-9.22%
Peru6799253701566921367992-1.76%
Suriname1475895147761477614758-0.12%
Uruguay1744109201412174423.51%
Venezuela4627552520264915146275-5.85%
South America86435149946454904322864351-4.42%
World403306031416839940851684033060-1.28%



Primary forestPlantations
ChangeChange
Country199020002010 2010 vs 2000199020002010 2010 vs 2000
1000 ha1000 ha1000 ha1000 ha1000 ha1000 ha
000-140134128-4.48%
000-000-
Angola000-221-50.00%
Botswana000-000-
Comoros000-10213461.90%
Djibouti000-4914915114.07%
Eritrea694674654-2.97%238212197-7.08%
Ethiopia000-681025.00%
Kenya336732143036-5.54%23127241552.57%
Lesotho17271330934-29.77%13219736585.28%
Madagascar000-1515150.00%
Malawi1110.00%n.s.n.s.1-
Mauritius000-38386263.16%
Mayotte000-00n.s.-
Mozambique5555550.00%5550.00%
Namibia2220.00%5550.00%
Réunion000-3330.00%
Seychelles9479479470.00%1626172417632.26%
Somalia000-160150140-6.67%
South Africa000-34325159.38%
Swaziland000-15020024020.00%
Uganda000-6060623.33%
Tanzania8018018010.00%154120108-10.00%
Zambia--------
Zimbabwe000-33334540417.10%
Eastern and Southern Africa000-44597018.64%
Algeria000-2172172170.00%
Egypt000-5132161.54%
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya000-47852362118.74%
Mauritania152761409813990-0.77%5424563960687.61%
Morocco000-29351969032.95%
Sudan000-000-
Tunisia--------
Western Sahara000-10131946.15%
Northern Africa000-75810987.93%
Benin11040400.00%08669-19.77%
Burkina Faso--------
Burundi000-5882853.66%
Cameroon390031352370-24.40%2220.00%
Cape Verde209196184-6.12%11141721.43%
Central African Republic754874927436-0.75%51517547.06%
Chad6256256250.00%15426133729.12%
Congo----5657593.51%
Côte d'Ivoire000-0n.s.n.s.-
Democratic Republic of the Congo209341763414334-18.71%3030300.00%
Equatorial Guinea1110.00%1110.00%
Gabon3953953950.00%5060260333.33%
Gambia6363630.00%60729329.17%
Ghana000-n.s.n.s.1-
Guinea1751751750.00%8880.00%
Guinea-Bissau000-555530863.64%
Liberia2202202200.00%4873148102.74%
Mali1556736n.s.-25131638220.89%
Niger7770.00%24828237332.27%
Nigeria--------
Rwanda1111110.00%000-
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha175916531553-6.05%20530646451.63%
Sao Tome and Principe224157113-28.03%781587.50%
Senegal000-24344223.53%
Sierra Leone--------
Togo--------
Western and Central Africa1164611632116320.00%41950543947715741.85%
Africa1129954780-18.24%1130955781-18.22%
China37644054474717.09%102871033110326-0.05%
Democratic People's Republic of Korea604355395152-6.99%257614590.79%
Japan-42772957-30.86%-173818234.89%
Mongolia --------
Republic of Korea4364364360.00%239271237-12.55%
East Asia4134134130.00%12350.00%
Bangladesh313288263-8.68%113200.00%
Bhutan766456322-29.39%677969-12.66%
Brunei Darussalam1570115701157010.00%571671671021142.47%
Cambodia-4927047236-4.13%-36723549-3.35%
India1490149014900.00%399224126.26%
Indonesia3820382038200.00%1956165918078.92%
Lao People's Democratic Republic--------
Malaysia3192319231920.00%39469698841.95%
Maldives391548526-4.01%4042432.38%
Myanmar000-23429634014.86%
Nepal8618618610.00%3023273527.65%
Pakistan2220.00%000-
Philippines257197167-15.23%242221185-16.29%
Singapore6726672667260.00%26683111398628.13%
Sri Lanka000-2943430.00%
Thailand38418780-57.22%9672050351271.32%
Timor-Leste--------
Viet Nam--------
South and South-east Asia171513-13.33%14112190.91%
Afghanistan4004004000.00%2020200.00%
Armenia000-n.s.n.s.1-
Azerbaijan1313130.00%24283110.71%
Bahrain5005005000.00%5460184206.67%
Cyprus2002002000.00%8448448440.00%
Georgia000-1515150.00%
Iran (Islamic Republic of)000-6688880.00%
Iraq--0---47-
Israel000-10341056901-14.68%
Jordan000-35620.00%
Kazakhstan23724026912.08%465957-3.39%
Kuwait--0---11-
Kyrgyzstan--------
Lebanon000-2220.00%
Occupied Palestinian Territory000-000-
Oman3603603600.00%000-
Qatar000-17523429425.64%
Saudi Arabia2972972970.00%991011010.00%
Syrian Arab Republic7398979738.47%17782344341845.82%
Tajikistan1041041040.00%000-
Turkey000-2453103172.26%
Turkmenistan57577226.32%20346463536.85%
United Arab Emirates000-000-
Uzbekistan--------
Yemen--------
Western and Central Asia8585850.00%1039694-2.08%
Asia--------
Albania--------
Andorra4004004000.00%1518169218579.75%
Austria000-446408396-2.94%
Belarus2220.00%10479999990.00%
Belgium 15727033825.19%1032933815-12.65%
Bosnia and Herzegovina7770.00%928170-13.58%
Bulgaria9990.00%2610261626350.73%
Croatia2123258.70%33136140712.74%
Czech Republic-976964-1.23%-170168-1.18%
Denmark--------
Estonia000-43934956590419.13%
Faroe Islands3030300.00%1539159316332.51%
Finland000-5121528352830.00%
France000-000-
Germany000-1181291408.53%
Gibraltar--------
Greece000-000-
Guernsey000-1453150916126.83%
Holy See000-6152780.00%
Hungary000-38355365718.81%
Iceland--------
Ireland9393930.00%5475846216.34%
Isle of Man--------
Italy171715-11.76%724709628-11.42%
Jersey2220.00%n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Latvia20212623.81%41146152113.02%
Liechtenstein000-2828280.00%
Lithuania000-n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Luxembourg000-000-
Malta--------
Monaco 000-3453603651.39%
Montenegro2232232230.00%10891325147511.32%
Netherlands3051545.88%8511864588892.82%
Norway-24240.00%-7768499.41%
Poland000-112100.00%
Portugal3003003000.00%1402140114463.21%
Republic of Moldova241726258131256482-0.64%12651153601699110.62%
Romania000-000-
Russian Federationa1110.00%3939180361.54%
San Marino2424240.00%9609589590.10%
Serbia639510914.74%343632-11.11%
Slovakia000-2038250526806.99%
Slovenia000-000-
Spain2609260926090.00%2328355736131.57%
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands4040400.00%1591651724.24%
Sweden000-1051051050.00%
Switzerland5959590.00%4637475548461.91%
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia000-1965214522193.45%
Ukraine--------
United Kingdom--------
Europe--------
Anguilla--------
Antigua and Barbuda000-000-
Aruba000-n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Bahamas--------
Barbados--------
Bermuda--------
British Virgin Islands000-34734248642.11%
Cayman Islands282827-3.57%0n.s.n.s.-
Cuba--------
Dominica2220.00%n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Dominican Republic1515150.00%4440.00%
Grenada000-12202840.00%
Guadeloupe8988880.00%987-12.50%
Haiti000-2220.00%
Jamaica000-000-
Martinique--------
Montserrat000-000-
Netherlands Antilles--------
Puerto Rico10101220.00%1110.00%
Saint Kitts and Nevis--------
Saint Lucia-00--n.s.n.s.-
Saint Martin (French part)000-000-
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines6262620.00%15161812.50%
Saint Barthélemy--------
Trinidad and Tobago000-000-
Turks and Caicos Islands--------
United States Virgin Islands5995995990.00%2220.00%
Caribbean6236236230.00%29520324118.72%
Belize5550.00%10131515.38%
Costa Rica235920911619-22.57%519317386.02%
El Salvador--457---0-
Guatemala--1179---74-
Honduras000-13447979.55%
Nicaragua--------
Panama1654481654481654480.00%13575820896354.00%
Central America000-n.s.n.s.n.s.-
Canada394923546934310-3.27%010583203202.74%
Greenland000-000-
Mexico6998072878752773.29%17938225602536312.42%
Saint Pierre and Miquelon--------
United States of America--------
North America--------
North and Central America--5039-10231176190361.82%
American Samoa000-1110.00%
Australia4904454490.90%9213017736.15%
Cook Islands--40--91011.11%
Fiji--------
French Polynesia000-000-
Guam8880.00%4440.00%
Kiribati4044489.09%201714-17.65%
Marshall Islands000-000-
Micronesia4314314310.00%910100.00%
Nauru--2144-1261180918120.17%
New Caledonia--6---n.s.-
New Zealand--------
Niue1098-11.11%242322-4.35%
Norfolk Island--------
Northern Mariana Islands313292953426210-11.25%6382864.88%
Palau--------
Papua New Guinea-n.s.n.s.--32320.00%
Pitcairn1105110511050.00%442827-3.57%
Samoa000-000-
Solomon Islands4440.00%1110.00%
Tokelau--------
Tonga--------
Tuvalu----n.s.n.s.1-
Vanuatu--------
Wallis and Futuna Islands1738173817380.00%7661076139429.55%
Oceania408043904637164-4.82%2020200.00%
Argentina530041501926476573-5.05%49845176741843.32%
Bolivia463145364439-2.14%17071936238423.14%
Brazil882886858543-1.64%13725540558.82%
Chile-468248052.63%-1611673.73%
Colombia000-000-
Ecuador800678167690-1.61%1110.00%
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)-679067900.00%-00-
French Guiana1850185018500.00%23364833.33%
Guyana629106218860178-3.23%26371599338.88%
Paraguay142081413714001-0.96%1313130.00%
Peru2882973063.03%20166997846.19%
Suriname--------
Uruguay--------
Venezuela--------
South America--------
World--------






NOTE: The text on primary forest loss has been clarified under the final photo caption and in the text. Some readers have been confused about the menaing of "loss of primary forest". This refers to undisturbed (old growth) forest that is reclassified as 'other naturally regenerated forest' because of selective logging and other human interventions. It does not neccessarily mean deforestation.





Related articles

Rainforest loss slows
(10/07/2010) Deforestation rates in tropical countries dropped significantly during the first decade of the 21st century relative to the 1990s, reveals new data released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAO figures show deforestation across 121 tropical countries averaged 9.34 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 11.33 million hectares per year in the 1990s. The decline has accelerated since 2005 due Brazil's dramatic reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which peaked at 27,772 square kilometers in 2004 but is expected to come in at less than 8,000 for 2010.


Free availability of satellite imagery has boosted deforestation monitoring applications, but risk of data gap looms

(09/29/2010) In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of satellite-based monitoring applications and technologies, which is perhaps best exemplified in the eyes of the public by Google Earth, which allows anyone with a decent internet connection to view overhead images of nearly any place on Earth. But these new applications are also helping scientists more effectively monitor environmental change, including the fluctuations in polar sea ice, shifts in oceanic plankton, and deforestation. An important factor in the expanded use of satellite imagery has been the U.S. government's free Landsat Data Distribution Policy, which allows free or inexpensive access to data captured by Landsat satellites, which have been collected data on a regular basis since 1972. But the Landsat program is not presently operating at its full capacity, increasing the risk of a 'data gap' before a new system is in place in 2012.


Amazon deforestation falls significantly in 2010, according to preliminary data

(08/31/2010) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down significantly since last year, according to preliminary estimates released by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO that tracks forest loss and degradation across the Amazon. Analysis of NASA MODIS data by Imazon found some 1,488 square kilometers of forest were cleared during the 12 months ended July 31, 2010, down 16 percent from the same period last year, when 1,766 square kilometers were deforested. Meanwhile analysis by INPE shows an even steeper drop from 4,375 square kilometers in August 2008 through July 2009 to 2,296 square kilometers in the current period, a decline of 48 percent. The discrepancy between INPE's and Imazon's estimates results from differences in how deforestation is tracked.


Rainforest scientists urge UN to correct "serious loophole" by changing its definition of 'forest'

(06/24/2010) The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) has released a resolution urging the UN to change its definition for 'forest', before the controversial definition undermines conservation efforts, biodiversity preservation, carbon sequestration, and the nascent REDD (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation).


Destruction of old-growth forests looms over climate talks

(12/08/2009) Destruction of old-growth or primary forests looms large in discussions in Copenhagen over a scheme to compensate tropical countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Some environmental groups are pressing for conservation of old-growth forests — the most carbon-dense, and biologically-rich state of forests — to be the centerpiece of REDD, while industry and other actors are pushing for "sustainable forest management" or logging using reduced-impact techniques to be the primary focus of REDD.







http://print.news.mongabay.com/2010/1005-global_forests_fao.html




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