Nepal | July 10, 2020

Five global deforestation hotspots as Brazil reveals Amazon spike

Thomson Reuters Foundation
Share Now:

LONDON: A sharp rise in deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest drew global concern this week, spotlighting the environmental impact of the loss of huge swathes of the forest around the world.

The world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover – equal to 30 football pitches a minute – last year, researchers from Global Forest Watch found.

That has major implications for climate change as forests absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced globally.

Here are five deforestation hotspots to watch:

1. INDONESIA – The country has the world’s third-largest total area of tropical forest and environmentalists say much of the forest destruction is due to oil-palm plantations.

The $60-billion global trade in palm oil – a widely used edible oil, found in everything from margarine to lipstick – has faced scrutiny from green activists who have blamed its production for forest loss and fires.

Last year Indonesia’s government issued a temporary ban on new permits for palm plantations to protect its tropical forests, but watchdog officials say a lack of transparency has made it difficult to evaluate the moratorium’s effectiveness.

2. ROMANIA – Thousands of Romanians marched in Bucharest this month to protest widespread illegal logging, which protesters say they believe led to the deaths of two forest workers.

Those on the march demanded criminal investigations into the deaths and into attacks on forest workers, as well as improved tracking of logging and tighter legislation.

Romania, home to some of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests, loses between three and nine hectares of forest per hour to illegal logging, according to environmental group Greenpeace.

3. GABON – The Central African country came under scrutiny last year after the disappearance of hundreds of containers of illegally logged kevazingo, a valuable hardwood that is popular in Asia.

Lee White, a conservationist appointed as Gabon’s environment minister after the scandal, has vowed to fight illegal logging by strengthening governance of forests, citing political apathy and climate change for his move into politics.

The government, which has already banned raw wood exports and enlarged protected areas and national parks, is to receive $150 million over 10 years from Norway to help protect its carbon-absorbing tropical forests.

4. MALAYSIA – Together with neighbouring Indonesia, Malaysia accounts for 85% of global palm oil output. The industry is often blamed in the country for stripping tropical rainforests along with cattle ranching and soybean production.

Earlier this year the European Union passed a law to phase out palm oil from renewable fuels by 2030 due to global deforestation concerns.

However, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has rejected the link between the palm oil industry and deforestation.

The government has said about 60% of the country’s total oil palm planted area received the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil certification (MSPO), which requires growers to meet certain environmental protection standards and develop the industry sustainably.

5. BRAZIL – Government data showed deforestation in the Amazon region rose by nearly 30% in the 12 months to July, the highest level since 2008, confirming a sharp increase under the leadership of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and is considered key to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

Last August widespread forest fires in the Amazon sparked global outcry. Wildfires are common in the dry season in Brazil but are also deliberately set by farmers illegally deforesting land for cattle ranching.

Sources: Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, Brazil’s INPE space research agency

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Silva shines as Man City thrash Newcastle 5-0

MANCHESTER: David Silva scored one goal and made two more as Manchester City put on a passing masterclass to overwhelm Newcastle United with a 5-0 Premier League victory on Wednesday. Having announced that he will leave the club at the end of this season after a 10-year spell, the 34- Read More...

Salah double keeps Liverpool on track for points record

BRIGHTON: Mohamed Salah scored twice as champions Liverpool moved on to 92 points with a 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Wednesday. The victory kept Liverpool on target to secure a record Premier League points tally, with Juergen Klopp's side needing nine from Read More...

Adequate social security key to minimise impact of COVID-19, says PM Oli

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said protection of the most vulnerable, including migrant workers and those in informal sectors, and provision of adequate social security and health care was the key to minimise the impact of COVID-19. Addressing virtual ‘Global Summit on COVID Read More...

Suarez scores as Barca condemn Espanyol to relegation

Barca beat Espanyol 1-0 in city derby Suarez won the match with his 195th goal for the club Espanyol were relegated after 26 years in La Liga  BARCELONA: Barcelona kept up their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga title race by beating city rivals Espanyol 1-0 at home Read More...

Coronavirus pandemic affects Nepal’s sovereign credit rating process

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 The country’s sovereign rating assessment is likely to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though the government had awarded Fitch Ratings, a United States-based international credit rating agency, to study and confirm Nepal’s sovereign credit rating in December l Read More...

Human rights awareness, Human rights education

‘Respect rights of vulnerable people’

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 International partners, civil society and humanitarian organisations have been working together to support the Government of Nepal’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, read a joint press statement issued by United Nations, various embassies and international agencies in Nepal to Read More...

SP-N notifies EC of Giri’s expulsion

KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Samajwadi Party-Nepal today wrote a letter to the Parliament Secretariat stating that it had expelled lawmaker Sarita Giri from the House of Representatives. Assistant Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dahamala said his office would inform Speaker Agni Pra Read More...

Man held for swindling job aspirants of hefty amount

Swindler allegedly offered ‘fake offer letters’ to victims  KATHMANDU, JULY 8 Police have arrested Bijay Pandey, 34, on charge of swindling lakhs of rupees from at least seven persons on the pretext of securing them employment at World Health Organisation’s Nepal office. Pandey, who ha Read More...