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article imageWhich areas are most at risk from deforestation?

By Tim Sandle     Mar 26, 2016 in Environment
The Earth has lost the equivalent of 1,000 football fields of forests per hour for the last 25 years, leaving some three trillion trees left. Some parts of the planet are hit more heavily than others.
To add to these startling statistics, the number of trees on Earth has almost halved since the beginning of human civilization (according to a report published in the journal Nature - "Global count reaches 3 trillion trees.") The reasons for some 15 billion trees being lost each year are due to the combination of deforestation, forest management and changes in land use.
In terms of the size of area lost, the planet has seen 1.3 million square kilometers of forests disappear since 1990, which is an area larger than South Africa. Figures relating to land area loss come from the World Bank, timed to coincide with March's International Day of Forests.
The pattern of deforestation is not even, with some regions seeing an increase and others an extensive decrease. The biggest decreases of forest have affected Latin America and Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa regions. These regions have seen one in ten square kilometers of forest being lost during the past 25 years. Worst affected are Latin America and the Caribbean, where 970,000 square kilometers has gone over the 1990 - 2015 time period. However, gains have been seen in Middle East and North Africa. Despite the gains, the overall effect has been with a loss of trees and forest areas.
Explaining the importance of forests and the need to protect them, José Graziano da Silva, Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General, told The Daily Telegraph: "Forests play a fundamental role in combating rural poverty, ensuring food security and providing people with livelihoods. And they deliver vital environmental services such as clean air and water, the conservation of biodiversity and combating climate change."
The regions of the Earth with the highest amounts of forests are Russia, Brazil and Canada. These countries not only have the largest area of trees, they have established programs where certain sections of forest are protected.
In related news, the Ash tree is set for extinction in Europe. Ash trees have long-faced two serious threats: fungal disease ash-dieback and an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer.
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