Deforestation continues unabated ahead of COP26

(EurActiv, 25 Oct 2021) An average of 2,400 trees is cut down every minute, leading to an area the size of Belgium being deforested each year, according to the Latin America regional director for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), who was speaking ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

“It is considered that between 15 million and 18 million hectares of forests, an area the size of Belgium, is destroyed every year,” said Pina Gervassi, the regional director in Latin America for FSC, a certification body aiming to help reduce deforestation.

Such statistics are causing growing concern as the world goes into the United Nation’s annual climate summit. Forests play an essential role in combatting climate change and ensuring that global warming is limited before it causes drastic, irreversible changes to the planet.

The world’s forests are a key carbon sink, absorbing planet-heating CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. They are also vital homes for biodiversity.

But forests are coming under pressure from agriculture and increasing cases of wildfires and damage caused by pests that are exacerbated by climate change.

It’s a double-whammy: when a forest goes up in flames, not only is the carbon it contains immediately released, its CO2-absorption capacity also disappears.

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EurActiv, 25 Oct 2021: Deforestation continues unabated ahead of COP26