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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 07:10 AM

Climate change: Millions of hectares of tropical forest destroyed in 2018


Climate change: Millions of hectares of tropical forest destroyed in 2018

Date 25.04.2019

Humanity destroyed some 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical forest in 2018 almost a third of which was pristine rainforest. That was the finding of scientists from Global Forest Watch whose study, published on Thursday, showed the third largest decline since global satellite data became available in 2001.

Failure to stop tree cover loss has major implications for climate change, they warned, limiting the ability of the planet to soak up carbon emissions.

"The world's forests are now in the emergency room," said Frances Seymour from the World Resources Institute, the research organization responsible for the study.

Forests absorb about 30 percent of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions just over 11 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Oceans soak up the next largest portion.

"The health of the planet is at stake, and band aid responses are not enough," Seymour said. "With every hectare lost, we are that much closer to the scary scenario of runaway climate change."

A quarter of tropical cover took place in Brazil alone, with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia both accounting for about 10%. There were also high levels of deforestation in Malaysia and Madagascar.

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