New study finds global forest area per capita has decreased by over 60%
Over the past 60 years, global forest cover has decreased by 81.7 million hectares, a loss that has contributed to the reduction of more than 60% of global forest cover per capita. This loss threatens the future of biodiversity and impacts the lives of 1.6 billion people worldwide, according to a new study published today by IOP Publishing in the journal Environmental research letters.
A team of researchers, led by Ronald C. Estoque of the Center for Biodiversity and Climate Change, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) in Japan, has found that global forest cover decreased by 81.7 million hectares between 1960 and 2019 . equal to an area of more than 10% of the entire island of Borneo, with a gross forest loss (437.3 million hectares) greater than the gross forest gain (355.6 million hectares).
The team used a global land use dataset to investigate how forests have changed globally over space and time. As a result, the decline in global forests combined with the increase in world population over the 60-year period has resulted in a decline in global forest cover per capita by more than 60%, from 1.4 hectares in 1960 to 0.5 hectares in 2019.
The authors explain: “The ongoing loss and degradation of forests is affecting the integrity of forest ecosystems, reducing their ability to generate and deliver essential services and sustaining biodiversity. It also impacts the lives of at least 1.6 billion people worldwide, mainly in developing countries, who depend on forests for various purposes.”
The results also showed that the change in the spatiotemporal pattern of global forests supports the forest transition theory, with forest losses occurring mainly in the low-income countries in the tropics and forest gains in the higher-income countries in the extratropics. Ronald C. Estoque, the lead author of the study, explains: “Despite this spatial pattern of forest loss occurring mainly in the less developed countries, the role of more developed countries in this said forest loss also needs to be studied more deeply. With the amplification of forest conservation in more developed countries, forest loss is shifted to the less developed countries, especially in the tropics.”
“Today, monitoring the world’s forests is an integral part of several global environmental and social initiatives, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. To help achieve this, there is a great need to reverse or at least flatten the global curve of net forest loss by preserving the world’s remaining forests and restoring and rehabilitating degraded forest landscapes,” the authors further explain. .
Loss of intact forests increases bird extinction risk
Ronald C Estoque et al, Spatiotemporal pattern of global forest change over the past 60 years and the forest transition theory, Letters for environmental research (2022). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac7df5
Quote: New study finds global forest cover per capita has decreased by more than 60% (2022, August 1), retrieved August 1, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-global- forest-area-capita-decreased. html
This document is copyrighted. Other than fair dealing for personal study or research, nothing may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.