6.8 million hectares of forest lost in 2021

According to the report that annually evaluates the progress made towards the goals set internationally, the reduction of global deforestation is proceeding slowly

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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6.8 million hectares of forest lost in 2021

According to the report that annually evaluates the progress made towards the goals set internationally, the reduction of global deforestation is proceeding slowly, far from the 10% annual reduction that is estimated necessary to achieve the goal.

Not only that, in 2021 deforestation fell by 6.3% compared to the 2018-2020 average, and in tropical wetlands, even, by only 3.1%. In one year, we lost 6.8 million hectares of forest. The change in land use, which includes deforestation and forest degradation, in fact represents 10-12% of global emissions.

There are now only eight years left to reach the goal. Only tropical Asia is on the right track, thanks above all to Indonesia, which has been reducing deforestation for five years, and neighboring Malaysia. The fact that the difference between carbon uptake and emissions from deforestation and degradation is narrowing in some regions, especially the Amazon.

Here the ability to absorb CO2 is decreasing compared to what is emitted due to deforestation and degradation. The forests most affected by the phenomenon are also the most delicate, namely tropical and subtropical forests, which hold about a third of the non-recoverable carbon and biodiversity and which can take decades to restore what has been lost.

6.8 million hectares of forest lost in 2021

Negative data, on the other hand, comes from the tropical areas of Latin America and Africa which, despite an overall decline in forest loss, are not in line with the 2030 targets, Democratic Republic of Congo and Paraguay.

Ghana and Ivory Coast which, after years of significant destruction, in 2021 saw a decline of 13% and 47% respectively. According to the World Resources Institute report, through transpiration, for example, plants transform soil water into water vapor, favoring a local cooling effect and conditioning rainfall.

They also affect the amount and flow of water in the soil, limiting extreme events such as floods. The main responsible for deforestation is the agricultural sector. In 2021 the production of raw materials, especially palm oil, soy and beef, caused almost 6 million hectares of permanent deforestation, forestry produced 7 million and itinerant cultivation.

Then the construction of infrastructures, linked both to the exploitation of forests and the extraction of fossil fuels and planned urbanization.