Trees still falling, deforestation continues at alarming rates

31 Mar 2010, Comments: | Views: 40954 | | Category: Environment

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 Dude Why Not Plant a Tree on your birthday…..??

What To Say?

We all know about this climate change, global warming, melting glaciers, rising temperatures.. but is anything being done to stop it. May be we have just started , aren’t we? Basically the focus of this write up is about a report by United Nations’ FAO on deforestation  which says – “World deforestation decreases, but remains alarming in many countries”. FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessments are published every five years. More than 900 specialists from 178 countries were involved in the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010. The full report of this Assessment was released in October 2010.

Right Click here (and select "save linked content as" or "save target as..") to download the Complete Global Resources Report Assessment 2010 Report (above 310 pages).  

Right Click here (and select "save linked content as" or "save target as..") to download the Key Findings of the  FAO report.

Natures' Plunder

That green lush canopy with all that wilderness dipped in freaks and cheeks of hunted and hunting animals called forests were being chopped left, right, up and down from the very beginning of our existence – basically from the time we  got more civilized. We made paddy fields ,nice furniture  , good houses out of forests. That’s good. But isn’t there a limit. Shouldn’t we stop somewhere  and start creating more forests  or else  just go and chop every wooden thing out of earth – then ofcourse we the humanity will soon be buried under the nature’s grave. Just to say – how the navi people of Avatar movie crave for their trees.

Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths the size of Panama are lost each and every year.

The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. More than half of Earth’s rain forests have already been lost forever to the insatiable human demand for wood and arable land. Rain forests that once grew over 14 percent of the land on Earth now cover only about 6 percent. And if current deforestation rates continue, these critical habitats could disappear from the planet completely within the next hundred years.

Situation Improved But Still Bad

Globally, around 13 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010 as compared to around 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s, according to key findings of FAO's most comprehensive forest review to date The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010. The study covers 233 countries and areas.

Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their deforestation rates. In addition, ambitious tree planting programmes in countries such as China, India, the United States and Viet Nam - combined with natural expansion of forests in some regions - have added more than seven million hectares of new forests annually. As a result the net loss of forest area was reduced to 5.2 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 8.3 million hectares annually in the 1990s.

The world's total forest area is just over four billion hectares or 31 percent of the total land area. The net annual loss of forests (when the sum of all gains in forest area is smaller than all losses) in 2000-2010 is equivalent to an area about the size of Costa Rica.

South America and Africa had the highest net annual loss of forests in 2000-2010, with four and 3.4 million hectares respectively. Oceania also registered a net loss, due partly to severe drought in Australia since 2000. 

Asia, on the other hand, registered a net gain of some 2.2 million hectares annually in the last decade, mainly because of large-scale afforestation programmes in China, India and Viet Nam, which have expanded their forest area by a total of close to four million hectares annually in the last five years. However, conversion of forested lands to other uses continued at high rates in many countries. 

In North and Central America, the forest area remained fairly stable, while in Europe it continued to expand, although at a slower rate than previously.

"For the first time, we are able to show that the rate of deforestation has decreased globally as a result of concerted efforts taken both at local and international level," said Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director-General of FAO's Forestry Department. A lower deforestation rate and the establishment of new forests have helped bring down the high level of carbon emissions from forests caused by deforestation and forest degradation.

"Not only have countries improved their forest policies and legislation, they have also allocated forests for use by local communities and indigenous peoples and for the conservation of biological diversity and other environmental functions. This is a very welcoming message in 2010 - the International Year of Biodiversity.

"However, the rate of deforestation is still very high in many countries and the area of primary forest - forests undisturbed by human activity - continues to decrease, so countries must further strengthen their efforts to better conserve and manage them", he added.

Why Should We Care?

Forests play an important part in climate change mitigation. Forests store a vast amount of carbon. When a forest is cut down and converted to another use, carbon is released back into the atmosphere.Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperatures swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.  

 “But we need to look forward because the large tree planting programmes in China, India and Viet Nam, accounting for most of the recent gains in forest area, are scheduled to end by 2020, that means we have a short window of opportunity to put in place effective and permanent measures to significantly reduce the current rates of deforestation and forest degradation “– the FAO report says

The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees. Though deforestation rates have slowed a bit in recent years, financial realities make this unlikely to occur.

A more workable solution is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure that forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by the planting of enough young trees to replace the older ones felled in any given forest. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.

 We the common folk have a great role to pay. Ofcourse as an individual we may not be responsible for the mass cutting of trees but it’s our collective demand for land,food,wood that is cutting trees. So why not we do something. Lets plan some picnics to nearby areas and start planting some trees and motivate more people to do it. Don’t say rubbish and close the window – A nuclear explosion can just be initiated by a neutron

So Why Not Plant Atleast A tree on Your Birthday, if so, I wish You Celebrate more Birthdays than any other   atlast with out trees our planet would have been like that Mars or Venus, What say ???......

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