Tropical deforestation causes more than 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the entire population of India.
Last year, the global area of rainforest lost was 3.8 million hectares (14,286 square miles), according to the University of Maryland’s 2021 tree loss data compiled by the Global Forest Service. published by the World Resources Institute. That’s an 11% decrease from 2020, after a 12% increase in 2019. Fire is the main cause of this dangerous change each year.
Agriculture-related deforestation continues to increase. Brazil, which has more rainforests than any other country, has lost 1.5 million hectares. This represents 40% of the total global area and is three times larger than that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to forest loss caused by fires, the rate of non-fire forest loss in Brazil increased by 9% last year, to the highest level in the Amazon since 2006.
Scientists have noted concerns that the Amazon is approaching a tipping point, when climate change will shift the region to savanna-like ecosystems. More than 140 countries at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last year agreed to stop deforestation by 2030.
Indonesia, the country with the third largest number of tropical forests, has extended its chain of reductions in deforestation to its fifth year, with the rate of deforestation falling by 25% last year, lower than in 2020. This trend is alarming. This bodes well for the country’s climate commitments, updated in 2021. Indonesia says emissions from forestry will decrease by 2030.
Bolivia had the third highest rate of deforestation last year, with about a third of its 291,000 hectares burned. This is a phenomenon made worse by hot dry weather caused by climate change.
The forests of the North also see massive tree loss every year to the forestry industry and to forest fires. Unlike tropical forests, northern forests tend to grow back.