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Two-thirds of world's tropical rainforest destroyed or degraded globally: NGO

Two-thirds of worlds tropical rainforest destroyed or degraded globally: NGO

According to the Rainforest Foundation Norway analysis, about two-thirds of the world's original tropical rainforest cover has been degraded or destroyed by people.

Some 34 per cent of the world's original old-growth tropical rainforests have been destroyed, and another 30 per cent have degraded.

The report revealed an alarming update on the vanishing of one of the world's most valuable natural buffers against the climate crisis. According to the researchers, the total area of forest loss found between 2002 and 2019 was larger than the size of France.

South America's Amazon and bordering rainforests have witnessed more than half of the destruction since 2002.

With much of those forests cleared for palm oil plantations, Southeast Asian islands, mostly belonging to Indonesia, together rank second in forest destruction since 2002.

Central Africa ranks third, with most of the destruction reported around the Congo River basin because of traditional and commercial farming practices and logging.

Forests are increasingly being wiped out for logging and land conversion, making forest loss a major contributor to climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon.

With an increase in forest loss, the potential for climate change is high, making it difficult for the rest of the forest area to survive, thereby kicking start "a terrifying cycle", said Anders Krogh, the report's author and a tropical forest researcher.

Recently, another report by the World Resources Institute revealed that the rate of forest loss in the year 2019 roughly matched the annual level of destruction over the last two decades, which means a football field's worth of forest has been vanishing every 6 seconds.

Amazon, known as 'the lungs of the planet', is under threat from farmers and speculators torching land plots to grow soybeans, beef and other crops. This practice has worsened ever since 2019 when right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office and slackened the environmental enforcement.

But the Brazilian Amazon, along with its neighbours, the Orinoco and the Andean rainforest accounts for 73.5 per cent of the tropical forests still intact on the planet, said Krogh.

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TAGS:EnvironmentForest coverDeforestation
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