July 19, 2024


We Digest News to tell the Truth

WRI experts map current status of forests loss with Brazil and DRC leading the list

BY Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Experts from the World Resource Institute (WRI) on Thursday highlighted the current state of forest loss in countries around the world, where the problem is most prevalent in countries such as Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the beginning of the seminar, statistics on Tropical Primary Forests were first presented as they are some of the most important forests for biodiversity and for carbons.

Experts noted that the vast majority of modern-day deforestation is taking place in the tropics.

They said that one thing that’s new about the data this year is that there is an additional layer of tree cover loss due to fire.

Mikaela Weisse, World Resources Institute Deputy Director of Global Forest Watch explained that “This year’s data pinpoints where we see loss that is caused by wildfires, by intentionally set fires, or by fires that have escaped from agriculture, hunting or other human activities.”

She said that the loss of tropical forests remained stubbornly high in 2021.

Mikaela Weisse, World Resources Institute Deputy Director of Global Forest Watch

“We found 11.1 million hectares of tree cover loss in 2021, with 3.75 million hectares occurring within humid tropical primary forests, that is equivalent to a rate of 10 football pitches of primary forest loss every minute for the entire year.” Explained Ms. Mikaela

She added that tropical primary forest loss resulted in 2.5 Giga tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2021, which is equivalent to the annual fossil fuel emissions of India.

“We actually found an 11% decline in the rate of primary forest loss in the tropics, between 2020 and 2021. But, most of that change is explained by a decrease in the loss due to fire.” She said,

“We’re certainly not seeing the persistent declines in primary forest loss that we will need if we want to reach zero forest loss by 2020 to 2030, as set out in the Glasgow leaders declaration on forests and land use.” She added.

She notes that “If we looked at where these primary forest losses are happening, you can see that Brazil tops the list by far from the most primary forest loss, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This is perhaps not so surprising, since those two countries also hold the most primary forest to begin with. But one thing that’s different this year, and the same was true in 2020, is that Bolivia has surpassed Indonesia for the third-place spot on this list.”

Looking at the losses in different countries, Brazil consistently tops the list for the most primary forest loss.

 In fact, over 40% of the total primary forest loss in the tropics occurred in Brazil, and the vast majority of that took place in the Amazon.

The loss of primary forests in Brazil has been persistently high over the past several years.

Experts said that the loss due to fire in Brazil has fluctuated over time, depending on the conditions for fires to spread out of control into forests.

The non-fire losses, however, which are typically associated with agricultural expansion in Brazil, actually showed a 9% increase between 2020 and 2021.

This is largely consistent with Brazil’s official monitoring system protests, which found that 2021 had the highest rates of clear-cut deforestation in the Amazon that was recorded since 2006, a time when many measures were put in place to reduce the rate of deforestation in the Amazon.

Commenting on the Indonesia case, Mrs. Elizabet, Senior GIS Research for Global Forest Watch, said that “we have good news to share again this year in Indonesia, in 2021. Indonesia experienced a 25% decline in primary forest loss compared to 2020, its fifth year in a row of decline.”

She said that “The new fire data shows the large-scale forest and peat fires which devastated the country in 2015 and since then, fire seasons in Indonesia have been relatively quiet with little forest loss due to fire.”

However, she added, “while this recent trend is also good news, Malaysia has also lost nearly a fifth of its primary forests since the year 2001 and some estimates say up to a third of its primary forests since the 1970s.” Mrs. Elizabeth said.

“This downward trend, especially in Indonesia, shows the government and corporate commitments are working to slow primary forest loss.”

 For the case of Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the second highest amount of primary forest loss in 2021, losing nearly half a million hectares of forest.

As covered in previous years, primary forest loss continues to be driven by the expansion of small-scale agriculture and harvesting of trees for charcoal production and fuel wood.

The amount of primary forest loss has been consistently highest since the year 2016.

They also show significant new activity in the western part of the country near Kinshasa where charcoal production is prevalent.

Elsewhere in the Congo Basin, both Gabon and the Republic of Congo have experienced a row of declining primary forest loss.

Last year, Gabon experienced a 17% decline in loss compared to 2020 and became the first African nation to receive a payment for reducing carbon emissions and deeper deforestation.

The Republic of Congo also experienced a decline in primary forest loss 26% Compared to 2020, and recently passed a law which would allow indigenous people and local communities to legally hold, manage and thereby protect their forests.

Experts said that while tree cover loss and boreal forest rarely results in permanent deforestation, the rate of loss reached unprecedented levels in 2021, increasing 30% Compared to 2020 and tree cover loss in Russia is what drove much of this increase.

“So, in 2021, Russia experienced the worst fire season on record, with more than six and a half million hectares of tree cover loss, and over 80% of this loss being due to fire.” Mrs. Elizabet said

“Now fires are a natural part of boreal forest ecosystems.” She added

Returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Elie Hakizumwami, World Resource Institute Country Director revealed that the areas most affected are close to the cities which means that the tree cover loss is also associated with the cities to the use of products for cities especially Charcoal.

“For instance, if we take the case of Kinshasa and also most of the cities in DRC, 95% use charcoal as a source of energy. So, if one has to stop or decrease deforestation, they have to invest also in the use of alternative sources of energy such as LPG, Electricity, and also other clean energy.” Mr. Hakizumwami explained.

He added that “We may find that it is associated with agriculture because in most of the cities they also need much food, which unfortunately is produced using shifting cultivation, which, of course, contributes to the green cover or forest loss.”

He noted that looking at the southern part of DRC, “This part there’s too much mining which mostly is associated with the armed groups that are operating in that area.”

“So, this also means peace in these areas is very necessary if you have to save the forest, but also responsible mining is also needed to be promoted.” He concluded.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

TOPAFRICANEWS.COM © All rights reserved.
Verified by MonsterInsights