Forests are disappearing from the Amazon to Afghanistan, but the rate has slowed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.
A new study by the United Nations found that the world has a net loss of 7.3 million forest hectares annually — down from 8.9 million per year during the 1990s.
Although forest regeneration has slowed the rate of loss, the causes of deforestation are varied.
The problem of clearcutting for cattle grazing in the Amazon rainforest has been well documented, but oil production is also an issue that threatens trees in Africa’s Congo River Basin.
Palm oil production is accelerating deforestation in Indonesia, while Afghan forests are falling to war and drought.
Fewer trees mean more greenhouse gas emissions, with severe potential impacts in the developing world that are spurring action by world leaders.
Britain and Norway are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to promote reforestation in the Congo Basin, while the U.N. Environmental Program is tackling the problem with a massive campaign that aims to plant seven billion new trees worldwide.
“Is there hope for the world’s vanishing forests?”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, June 25, 2008