An achievement not worth celebrating: Australia named as the ONLY developed nation on a list of 24 deforestation hotspots
- Half of the natural forests in the interior of Eastern Australia have now been bulldozed
- More than 700 native plant and animal species, including koalas, are endangered
- Livestock was the largest contributor to deforestation in eastern Australia
A shocking new report has named Australia as the only developed country on a list of 24 deforestation fronts worldwide.
Half of the natural forests in the interior of Eastern Australia have been bulldozed, according to a report released Thursday by the conservation group, the World Wide Fund for Nature.
More than 700 native plant and animal species, including koalas, are now threatened by logging and land clearing to make way for livestock.
Australia secured its place on the list because the Queensland and New South Wales governments have removed restrictions on large-scale land clearing for agricultural purposes.
A mother koala and her baby sit on a pile of logs in Queensland after clearing the land
A bulldozer cutting trees for urban expansion in Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane, Queensland
NSW saw a sharp increase in cleanup by farmers when NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian replaced the Vegetation Laws in August 2017.
As a result, the 29,400 hectares cleared in 2018 was 8 percent higher than the year before, but more than double the average of 12,300 hectares removed between 2009 and 2017.
The Campbell Newman government in Queensland passed a series of land reclamation laws in 2013, accelerating deforestation until they were revised in 2018.
Nearly 250,000 hectares of endangered species were destroyed in Queensland between 2016 and 2018.
Pictured: A young larger glider moved by land clearing in Chinchilla, northwest of Brisbane
A native boxwood poplar that was harvested with chains in Augathella, central Queensland in February 2020
Coupled with the disastrous wildfires that ravaged the country last year, natural scientist Dr. Martin Taylor of WWF Australia that the eastern part of the country is in dire condition.
“Forest destruction was bad enough to declare the region a global deforestation front, after that the 2019-2020 wildfires burned about 12.6 million hectares in eastern Australia,” he said.
According to the report, “Forest fires are likely to increase due to longer and more extreme dry seasons due to climate change.”
Livestock was the largest contributor to deforestation in eastern Australia, followed by significant logging.
Two hollow nesting galahs so injured while clearing land they had to be euthanized in Beerwah, near the Sunshine Coast
To help restore flat-rolled forests, WWF launched Regenerate Australia – the world’s largest reforestation program.
For five years, project leaders will work with local communities, governments, traditional owners, NGOs, scientists, companies, innovators, investors and foundations to restore wildlife and habitats.
Most of the countries on the list are in Africa, but Latin American countries with Amazon rainforest, including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela / Guyana, took the top five places.
The remaining countries were located in Southeast Asia and the Oceanic region.
TOP 24 DEFORESTATION FRONTS
1 Amazon – Brazil
2 Amazon – Colombia
3 Amazon – Peru
4 Amazon – Bolivia
5 Amazon – Venezuela / Guyana
6 Gran Chaco – Paraguay / Argentina
7 Cerrado – Brazil
8 Chocó-Darién – Colombia / Ecuador
9 Mayan forests – Mexico / Guatemala
10 West Africa – Liberia / Ivory Coast / Ghana
11 Central Africa – Cameroon
12 Central Africa – Gabon / Cameroon / Republic of the Congo
13 Central Africa – DRC / CAR
14 Central Africa – Angola
15 East Africa – Zambia
16 East Africa – Mozambique
17 East Africa – Madagascar
SOUTHEAST ASIA AND OCEANIA
18 Mekong – Cambodia
19 Mekong – Laos
20 Mekong – Myanmar
21 Sumatra – Indonesia
22 Borneo – Indonesia / Malaysia
23 New Guinea – Indonesia / PNG
24 Eastern Australia
Source: WWF Report, Fronts of Deforestation: Drivers and Responses in a Changing World