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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 06:33 AM

Belgium-Sized Area Of Old Growth Tropical Rainforest Wiped Out In 2018

At first glance, the news seems good: tropical deforestation declined for the second year in a row, according to new satellite data. But digging in a little deeper reveals a more complicated, grimmer reality. The data, released today by World Resources Institute on its forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch (GFW), show how much tree cover was lost in 2018, and where this loss happened. These data come from satellite images that are collated and analyzed by the University of Maryland in the U.S. and can pinpoint areas of canopy loss as small as 30 meters.

Overall, the data indicate the tropics lost around 120,000 square kilometers (around 46,300 square miles) of tree cover last year or an area of forest the size of Nicaragua. This number is down from the previous two years, when around 170,000 and 160,000 square kilometers were respectively lost in 2016 and 2017. But 2018s total is still well above the 18-year average since data collection began in 2001.

Its tempting to celebrate a second year of decline since peak tree cover loss in 2016, said Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow at WRI. But if you look back over the last 18 years, its clear that the overall trend is still upward. We are nowhere near winning this battle.

In an analysis released with the data today, GFW zooms in on primary forest; that is, forest that hasnt been logged or degraded in recent history. Overall, it finds that around 36,400 square kilometers of primary forest was deforested in the humid tropics in 2018, which is a jump from the annual average and the third-highest level since data collection began.

EDIT

https://news.mongabay.com/2019/04/the-world-lost-a-belgium-size-area-of-old-growth-rainforest-in-2018/

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