2.4.2 Deforestation

Forests provide a number of ecosystem services including climate and micro-climate regulation, carbon sequestration, provision of raw materials, and the maintenance of biodiversity richness as well as water resource cycles.

Between 2000—2013, 2.3 million square kilometers of forest cover was lost in comparison to an almost negligible 0.8 million square kilometer of forest re-establishment. A study by Hansen et al. (2013) noted that the tropics (tropical region) was the only climate domain which exhibited a consistent trend, with forest cover loss increasing by an approximate 2,101 square kilometers a year.

It is noteworthy that of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots, most are found in tropical forests. Estimates suggest that although biodiversity hotspots only represent 2.3% of the earth’s surface, they account for 35% of all ecosystem services.

Source: High Resolution Global Maps of 21st Century Forest Cover Change – Hansen et. Al (2013)

 Business plays a major role in deforestation, as seen in this snapshot:

Source: Living Forests Report – Saving the Forests at Risk, WWF 2011

Supplementary Resources

A near real time interactive map on the state of global forests can be accessed by clicking on this link: GlobalForestWatch

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