Over the past 60 years, the global forest area has declined by 81.7 million hectares, a loss that contributed to the more than 60% decline in global forest area per capita. This loss threatens the future of biodiversity and impacts the lives of 1.6 billion people worldwide, according to a new study published today by IOP Publishing in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
A team of researchers, led by Ronald C. Estoque from the Center for Biodiversity and Climate Change, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) in Japan, have found that the global forest area has declined by 81.7 million hectares from 1960 to 2019, equivalent to an area of more than 10% of the entire Borneo Island, with gross forest loss (437.3 million hectares) outweighing gross forest gain (355.6 million hectares).
The team used global land use dataset to examine how global forests have changed over space and time. Consequently, the decline in global forests combined with the increase in global population over the 60-year period has resulted in a decrease of the global forest area per capita by over 60%, from 1.4 hectares in 1960 to 0.5 hectares in 2019.
The authors explain, “the continuous loss and degradation of forests affect the integrity of forest ecosystems, reducing their ability to generate and provide essential services and sustain biodiversity. It also impacts the lives of at least 1.6 billion people worldwide, predominantly in developing countries, who depend on forests for various purposes.” Read more at IOP Publishing
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