Updated: Aug 3, 2021
2020 saw Tropical deforestation as extensive as the Netherlands!
According to Global Forest Watch, the forest area destroyed has increased by 12% compared to 2019, despite the global crisis and call for action.
Exercise for you: open Google map and point at the Netherlands. Check their extension and now bearing in mind the shape of this nation, overlap the Netherlands to Brazil where it was supposed to be a large forest.
Well done! That piece of forest doesn't exist anymore (red shape on the map)!
This was stated in a report published by Global Forest Watch, according to which 4.2 million hectares of this essential ecosystem for the planet have disappeared, gone up in smoke or destroyed by humans.
The data, based on satellite surveys, show that Brazil is in first place for tropical deforestation. These losses are "a climate emergency, a biodiversity crisis, a humanitarian disaster and lost economic opportunities," said Frances Seymour of the World Resources Institute, who led the report.
According to Frances Seymour and her team, the pandemic may have had some negative impacts, with illegally felled trees in unprotected forests, for example, or the massive flow of people into rural areas.
Moreover, the 2020 data shows that the forests have been victims of climate change, Frances Seymour pointed out at a press conference. "Wetlands are burning. Nature had whispered to us for a while that the threat was coming. Now it's screaming," she insisted.
The rich forest ecosystems cover more than 30% of the earth's surface, and tropical forests are home to between 50 and 90% of land species. The roughly 4 million hectares of tropical forests destroyed in 2020 released 2.64 gigatonnes of CO2, equivalent to the annual emissions of 570 million cars. "The longer we wait to stop deforestation, (...) the more our natural carbon sinks risk going up in smoke," warned Frances Seymour.