By 2030, conservationists and leading environmental experts have warned that a dramatic acceleration in deforestation will lead to the destruction of over 80% of some ‘global hotspots’.
Results that outline the top eleven global positions, where deforestation will have the most effect, have been released by wildlife charity WWF.
The researchers concluded that up to 420 acres could disappear by 2030. That amount of acres is equivalent to the land mass across multiple countries.
“Imagine a forest stretching across Germany, France, Spain and Portugal wiped out in just 20 years”, said Rod Taylor, director of WWF’s global forest programme.
The fronts deemed most at-risk of insurmountable deforestation levels are; The Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Choco-Darien in Central America, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Borneo, New Guinea, Sumatra, Cerrado in South America and finally – Eastern Australia.
These areas are being destroyed at a rate much higher than other ares around the world due to various factors. The report warns that the continued expansion of agriculture, livestock farming, palm oil plantations and soy production are largely to blame for the rapid increase of deforestation within these areas.
Whilst unsustainable farming and agriculture practices, such as logging and wood fuel collection continue to agitate the situation, increased infrastructure – such as new roads that allow access to settlers and farmers – also have a huge impact on deforestation.
These areas are not only home to indigenous communities that depend on the forests for their livelihoods, but they are also home to many endangered species, already at risk of distinction.
The WWF is calling for global action to prevent losing these areas through the continuation of illegal and damaging deforestation practices. They ask, that countries begin to recognise the benefits of forests in reducing CO2 emissions and curbing climate change, and also enact policies which provide incentives for other countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – caused by deforestation.
“We must tackle that risk to save the communities and cultures that depend on forests, and ensure forests continue to store carbon, filter our water, supply wood and provide habitat for millions of species.” said Taylor.
The fact that there are still large amounts of furniture, sold across Europe and in Australia, that are made with unsustainably sourced wood, is a huge issue. Even though the EU have rules in place to prevent this exploitation, their current laws “only cover half of traded products”, stated Will Ashley-Cantello – WWF-UK’s chief advisor of forests.
“Deforestation needs to stop if we are to reverse biodiversity loss and combat climate change – which, if unchecked, will affect our quality of life… Managing forest sustainably could underpin sustainable development, poverty alleviation and a stable climate around the world.”