2020 was one of the worst years for the conservation of tropical forests

2020 was one of the worst years for the conservation of tropical forests

Over 12 million hectares of tropical forests have been destroyed. Compared to 2019, the increase is 12%. The worst data is recorded in Brazil

The fires in the Amazon in the Brazilian states of Rondônia and Pará (photo: Victor Moriyama / Greenpeace) Over 12 million hectares of tropical forests have been destroyed in the last year, of which 4, 2 million rainforests remained intact and protected so far. Compared to 2019, deforestation increased by 12%, aggravating climate instability and endangering the biodiversity of the most affected areas. According to data collected by the University of Maryland and the Global forest watch, 2020 stands as the third worst year for deforestation in the last 20 years.

According to reports from the World resources institute, the loss 4.2 millions of hectares of rainforests caused an increase in annual CO 2 emissions of 2.64 billion tons, which would produce 570 million cars, double those currently in circulation in the United States. Rainforests are essential for the absorption of the planet's carbon dioxide and their destruction contributes to aggravating global warming. Furthermore, they represent the source of livelihood and the home of dozens of indigenous peoples, who live in symbiosis with the forests. Their destruction therefore also entails a humanitarian crisis that affects the displacement of all these populations.

Black year in Brazil

The most significant losses occurred in the Amazon, Congo and Southeast Asia. Brazil is the worst, with the destruction of more than 1.7 million acres of rainforests. The responsibility for this devastation lies in the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. Although he has imposed a ban on using fires and soldiers to turn forests into agricultural land, he has also cut funding from Ibama, the federal body that deals with regulating deforestation and protecting virgin areas, by 40%. Furthermore, according to a scientific study by the journal Biological conservation, the Bolsonaro administration has approved 57 laws that weaken environmental protection, causing a 70% decrease in fines imposed for environmental violations.

In addition to national policies, the factor that most contributes to deforestation is the consumption of more developed countries. According to the Nature ecology and evolution journal, the consumption of the G7 countries alone is responsible for the felling of 3 trees per person every year. In particular, the demand for meat, chocolate, coffee, soy and palm oil from richer countries are among the main causes of deforestation of virgin areas in tropical countries.

“2020 was to be a pivotal year in the fight against deforestation - reads the report of the World resources institute -. A year in which many companies, nations and international organizations have pledged to halve or stop deforestation. The continuing losses of rainforests show that humanity has failed to deliver on its goals. " A meeting will be held in the UK on April 1st for the Cop26 international climate conference, including deforestation.

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