Deforestation on the Decline

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Deforestation globally has dropped by 20 per cent in the last 10 years, according to a new UN report.

More than 900 experts from 178 countries contributed to the Forestry Resources Assessment report, which took around four years to complete. The research was revealed at a meeting of the UN’s Committee on Forestry in Rome.

Mette Wilkie, who coordinated the study, said: "Around 13 million hectares of forests were lost through deforestation or natural causes each year in the last decade. That is down from an estimated 16 million hectares per year in the previous decade, 1990-2000."

But despite the dramatic fall in deforestation globally, the study showed it is still happening at worrying levels in some countries.

Ms Wilkie added: “There are indications for the first time that the rate of deforestation is going down, but it does continue at alarming rate in many countries still."

Both Brazil and Indonesia have managed to reduce their deforestation rates by a significant amount in the past 10 years. The Brazilian Government has put in place an excellent monitoring system to detect logging very early on. And in Indonesia there has been more emphasis on sustainable forest management.

Andrew Skeene, of Global Forestry Investments, said: “Forests are vital for biological diversity and the prevention of climate change. At Global Forestry Investments, we are serious about sustainable forestry.

“That is why for every tree we plant for our clients, we plant another in protected rainforest land. We also provide much-needed employment and training for local people which helps them make a living from their rainforests without having to destroy it.”

Ms Wilkie said the aim of the meeting in Rome was to create awareness of deforestation and find out where it is happening and also what the underlying causes are.

She said: "The main cause by far is the conversion of forested area to agriculture, crops and livestock production in developing countries. Of course we need additional production of food where we're having an increase in population.

“The issue is how to increase the effective use of land for agriculture and also to find better ways of using the forests so they can generate livelihoods and income rather than be converted into agricultural crops."

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