80% of deforestation globally will be occurring in just eleven places by 2030 the WWF announced in a new report released today. 10 of these places are in the tropics. The report is titled Lving Forests Report: Saving Forests at Risk.
Between 2010 and 2030 the WWF has estimated that 170 million hectares of forest will be lost in these areas which they have termed “deforestation fronts.” The twelve fronts they identified are the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the cerrado, Choco Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea and Sumatra.
These forests contain some of the planets most endangered species such as orangutans and tigers. They also play host to a number of indigenous communities.
Rod Taylor, Director of WWF’s global forest proframme explained just how big the issue is, “Imagine a forest stretching across Germany, France, Spain and Portugal wiped out in just 20 years. We’re looking at how we can tackle that risk to save the communities and cultures that depend on forests, and ensure forests continue to store carbon, filter our water, supply wood and provide habitat for millions of species.”
Previous analysis by WWF predicted a loss of 230 million hectares by 2050. If emissions are not reduced near to zero by 2020 then the world is at risk of dangerous climate change and economic losses.
Deforestation for commercial livestock, palm oil and soy production was identified as the main cause of the issue. Logging, fuelwood collection along with infrastructure projects opening the land to new agriculture developments was also blamed.
“The threats to forests are bigger than one company or industry, and they often cross national borders. They require solutions that look at the whole landscape,” adeed Taylor. “This means collaborative land-use decision-making that accounts for the needs of business, communities and nature.”
The report will be presented to political, business and civil society leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia this week. It placed Indonesia in the spotlight with projections that 5 million hectares could be lost by 2030 on the island of Sumatra alone. It has already lost half of its natural forests.
New Guinea is predicted to see a loss of 7 million hectares by 2030. The Borneo deforestation front may only have a quarter of its natural forests left by this time.
Take a look at the full report here – WWF | Living Forests Report