Despite the global economic downturn caused by the epidemic, tropical forests around the world were destroyed at an increasing rate in 2020 compared to a year earlier, which reduced demand for certain commodities due to deforestation in the past.
According to a research group based in the World Resources Institute, Washington, the primary incremental tropical forest loss in maintaining carbon and maintaining biodiversity worldwide, which plays an important role in keeping it out of the atmosphere and maintaining biodiversity . Report on this subject every year.
In total, more than 10 million acres of primary tropical forest were lost in 2020, an area roughly the size of Switzerland. The analysis of the institute states that the loss of that forest has added more than two and a half billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, or to air by cars in the United States every year.
“We are still losing primary forest at an unacceptable rate,” said Rod Taylor, the institute’s global director of forest programs. “The 12 percent growth year over year is very high when the trend is declining.”
Brazil once again led the world to forest loss by a large margin, due to the pro-growth policies of the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, as widespread apparent erosion continued. Growing forest losses were also reported in Cameroon, West Africa. And in Colombia, after a promising drop in 2019, the loss again occurred last year.
Indonesia and Malaysia were rare bright spots, with forest losses decreasing since 2019. For Indonesia, 2020 marked the fourth year in a row of declines, a sign that the government was successful in its efforts to curb deforestation in 2015 after a horrific fire season.
As in previous years, the institute said, most of the forest loss in the tropics was driven by agriculture, either the production of commodities such as palm oil and cocoa or subsistence efforts by small farmers. In either case, the forests are usually cleaned and the resulting debris is burned to prepare the fields. Often these fires can go out of control, resulting in greater forest loss, and the warming and drying up brought about by climate change can make the situation worse.
Most of the forest loss in Brazil occurred in the Amazon rainforest, as it has for years. But this year Pantanal in the Wetlands region in the southern part of the country, which also covers parts of Bolivia and Paraguay, contributed greatly to the loss. The region experienced a historic drought, made worse by climate change, leading to severe fire season, while causing 16 times more forest loss in 2020 than before.
A senior fellow at the institute, Frances Seymour, said that what happened at Pantanal was just one example of global warming’s increasing role in forest damage. “The most inauspicious sign from the 2020 data is the number of instances where forests themselves have been victims of climate change,” he said. “Nature has been whispering this risk to us for a long time, but now she is screaming.”
Last year, special reports from Brazil and other countries suggested that deforestation was on the rise due to the epidemic, as the health crisis hampered efforts by governments to ban clear-cutting, and the recession forced their jobs Migrated as lost workers. Cities for farming in rural areas. But Mr Taylor said the analysis showed “no obvious systemic changes” in forest loss as a result of the epidemic.
If anything, the crisis and the resulting global economic downturn should have led to less overall forest loss, as demand, and prices, fell for palm oil and other commodities. The falling demand may have helped improve the situation in Indonesia and some other countries, with Ms. Seymour saying that globally it is “surprising that the global economy contracted somewhere between 3 and 4 percent in a year, with primary forest losses.” Rose 12 percent. “
She The world has seen by far the most impact on the forests from the epidemic, “which will probably begin to improve the economy.”
What is of concern is that governments facing losses will be tempted to “cut budgets of enforcement agencies and license new investment projects that could lead to greater forest loss,” she said. “Unless we offer alternatives, it is likely that the government will try to restart its economies behind the jungles.”
Data for the report were provided by scientists at the Global Land Analysis and Discovery Laboratory at the University of Maryland, who have developed methods for analyzing satellite imagery to determine forest cover. The World Resources Institute refers to their findings as “forest cover loss” rather than “deforestation” because the analysis includes trees lost from plantations and trees lost to human activity and those lost to natural causes Do not differentiate between