A coalition of non-governmental organisations and academics issued a dire warning on Tuesday that world leaders are “failing” on their promise to stop and reverse deforestation by 2030.
More than 100 countries and territories, home to the great majority of the world’s forests, made a commitment to halting forest loss by 2030.
Yet a new report out on Tuesday shows that worldwide deforestation rose by 4% in 2018, meaning the world is still far from on pace to reach the 2030 promise.
Lead author of the Forest Declaration Assessment Erin Matson stressed that meeting the 2030 target is “not just nice to have,” but rather “essential” for keeping the planet habitable.
Forests are very essential not only as homes for a wide variety of animals, but also as regulators of the global temperature and carbon sponges that absorb the emissions that humans create.
Still, the 6.6 million hectares of forest lost last year—much of it primary forest in tropical regions—was over 20 percent higher than it should have been to satisfy the leaders’ goal.
More than two dozen environmental and academic organisations oversaw the review, which concludes that forest degradation is still a major issue. Degradation encompasses a wide variety of threats to forest health, such as fires and biodiversity loss.
Changes in data from one year to the next are common. “So a single year is not the final word,” Matson argued.
But the trend is what matters most. The years 2018–2020 served as a baseline, and we’ve been heading in the wrong way ever since.
However, the report wasn’t completely bleak, as it found that approximately half of the world’s countries were on track to stop deforestation.
Some countries, like Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia, reported “dramatic reductions” in forest loss. However, the paper stresses that these advancements are in jeopardy.
There is concern that new legislation on job creation in Indonesia could weaken the country’s commitment to maintaining its forest cover, despite the fact that this dedication has contributed to Indonesia’s success.
And while there is increasing interest in safeguarding the Amazon in Brazil, another important habitat, the Cerrado savannah, has become a target. The report applauded the European Union’s new regulations that prevent the import of items that cause deforestation.
The report does, however, advocate for greater international action, such as increased funding to protect forests and the elimination of subsidies for industries like agriculture that contribute to deforestation.
“The world is failing forests with devastating consequences on a global scale,” said Fran Price, the global forest lead at WWF.
A tropical forest the size of Denmark has been cut down since the global pledge was made. The report arrives just in time for next month’s crucial climate discussions between governments.
However, conversations on renewable energy and the future of fossil fuels are more likely to take front stage than deforestation. We’d like to see conservation of forests and natural areas prioritised. Price added, “We’re worried that they’re not up there.
Deforestation in Thailand
Deforestation is a major environmental issue in Thailand that has been going on for decades. Agriculture expansion, logging, infrastructural development, and urbanisation are the primary drivers of deforestation in Thailand. Here are some major points about Thailand’s deforestation:
Agriculture has been a key driver of deforestation, particularly for the development of cash crops such as rubber, palm oil, and sugarcane. The demand for these crops, both domestically and globally, has resulted in the conversion of forests into agricultural land.
Commercial logging, which is frequently illegal and unsustainable, has led to the loss of Thailand’s forests. Teak and other valuable hardwoods have been over-exploited. Despite efforts to curb illegal logging, the problem continues.
Infrastructure development, such as roads and highways, dams, and mining operations, has also contributed to deforestation. These initiatives frequently necessitate the clearing of significant sections of forest.
Urbanisation; As Thailand’s population grows and people relocate to cities, urban areas rise in size. This urban sprawl is encroaching on forested areas, resulting in deforestation.
Biodiversity Loss; Deforestation has had serious repercussions for biodiversity in Thailand. The country is home to a vast diversity of ecosystems and animals, many of which are threatened or endangered owing to habitat destruction.
Climate Change; Forests play an important role in carbon dioxide sequestration, and their removal leads to climate change. Thailand’s deforestation is a source of worry in the context of worldwide efforts to address climate change.
Government Initiatives; To combat deforestation, the Thai government has established protected areas and promoted reforestation activities. Conservation measures and anti-logging legislation, on the other hand, can be difficult to enforce.
Indigenous groups; Many indigenous groups in Thailand rely on woods for a living. Deforestation has the potential to displace these communities and endanger their traditional ways of life.
Thailand’s efforts to counteract deforestation include conservation measures, law enforcement, sustainable land use practises, and replanting. International organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also play a role in supporting these efforts and advocating for sustainable forest management.