August 18, 2022
World forest cover reduced by more than 60% in 6 decades: Study

World forest cover reduced by more than 60% in 6 decades: Study

The study said that the global forest area per capita has decreased by more than 60 percent. (Representative)


According to one study, the global forest cover per capita has decreased by more than 60 percent over the past 60 years, a loss that threatens the future of biodiversity and affects the lives of 1.6 billion people worldwide.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that global forest cover declined by 81.7 million hectares from 1960 to 2019, with gross forest loss exceeding gross forest gain.

Researchers from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) in Japan used global land use datasets to examine how global forests have changed over space and time.

They found that over a 60-year period the decline in global forests along with the increase in global population resulted in a more than 60 percent reduction in global forest area per capita, from 1.4 hectares in 1960 to 0.5 hectares in 2019.

“The continued loss and degradation of forests affects the integrity of forest ecosystems, reducing their ability to provide essential services and maintain biodiversity,” the researchers said.

“It also affects the lives of at least 1.6 billion people worldwide, mainly in developing countries, who depend on forests for various purposes,” he said.

The results also showed that changes in the spatial pattern of global forests support the forest transition theory, mainly causing forest loss in low-income countries in the tropics and forest gain in high-income countries.

Study lead author Ronald C. Estoke said, “Despite this spatial pattern of forest loss occurring mainly in less developed countries, the role of more developed countries in this forest loss also needs to be studied more deeply. “

“With the strengthening of forest protection in more developed countries, forest loss in less developed countries has been displaced, especially in the tropics,” Estok said.

The researchers noted that monitoring the world’s forests is an integral part of a variety of global environmental and social initiatives, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

He said that to help achieve the goals of these initiatives, there is an acute need to reverse or at least flatten the global net forest loss curve by conserving the world’s remaining forests and restoring and rehabilitating degraded forest landscapes.

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