According to a study published on 1st August in IOP Science, global forest loss continues to be a major problem, particularly in lower income countries. Let’s look at the findings and why they’re so concerning.
Global Forest Change Over the Past 60 Years
The Findings of the Global Forest Change Study
The study found that between 1960 and 2019, the global forest area declined by 81.7 million hectares. Combining this forest loss with population increase statistics, the global forest per capita decreased by over 60%. Forest losses in lower income countries are surpassing forest gain in higher income countries.
These findings support the theory that lower income countries, particularly in the tropics, need to be given much more support to increase reforestation efforts.
Global forest conservation has become increasingly urgent, as forest loss continues to outweigh forest gain every decade since 1970, and the rate of total forest loss has accelerated in recent decades. Just as worrying is that, overall, the number of countries with forest loss has been increasing and the number of countries with forest gain has been decreasing. This suggests that initiatives put into place around the globe aren’t yet having as big of an impact as we would hope, and that much more work needs to be done.
Countries With the Highest Loss of Forests
Some of the countries with the highest loss of forests include:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
The main causes of forest loss include:
- Commercial logging
- Industrial-scale clearing for mining
- Expansion of palm oil plantations
- Decentralization of forest management
Why are the Findings So Alarming?
Deforestation increases climate change, results in habitat loss, and so much more. Read more about why forests are so important.
Tropical forests play a critical role in preventing climate change and so it’s extremely important that these forests levels are increased, as they can’t be compensated by simply gaining forest area in other climates.
What Can Be Done to Bring About Change?
Lower income countries harvest and export a large number of forest products. Higher income countries must consider reducing the amount of timber imports from lower income countries, particularly those in the tropics. A strengthened regulation of global timber trade to combat illegal deforestation would be helpful. The European Commission has recently proposed a regulation to promote the use of deforestation-free products.
There must be a global effort to reduce deforestation and to increase forest restoration and conservation, with more support provided to lower income countries.
Eden Reforestation Projects, Nepal
The results of this study emphasise the need for much more reforestation work to be undertaken globally, and particularly in lower income countries. This is why we’re extremely proud to be partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects. Every item you order funds the planting of 10 trees. Help us to help the planet – shop now.