About 3.75 million hectares of tropical forests were destroyed worldwide last year. This means that an area the size of a football field is lost every six seconds. This is the result of a recent calculation conducted by the Washington World Resources Institute (WRI) in collaboration with researchers from the University of Maryland. The WRI report is based on data from the online platform Global Forest Watch, which provides data on how forest landscapes have changed around the world since 2014.
According to a WRI report, 11 percent fewer hectares of primeval forest have disappeared compared to the previous year. However, the decline corresponds to 2018 and 2019. Brazilian rainforests continue to be particularly severely affected. Scientists also calculated that the destruction of the primeval forest released about 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide. India achieves a similarly high value with its annual emissions of fossil fuels.
Primordial forests, which are natural forests largely untouched by humans, are of great importance for maintaining biodiversity and are particularly important for carbon dioxide storage. That’s why, at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow in 2021, more than 100 countries pledged to end forest destruction by 2030. “We are approaching a tipping point where the Amazon is moving from rainforest to savannah, with massive emissions,” warns Michaela Weiss, Deputy Director of Global Forest Watch. (dpa/esm)