Monday, November 14, 2005


The U.N. released a report on global forestry management today...and the best that can be said is that the destruction of forests is only marginally less bad than a decade ago:
Taking into account plantations, landscape restoration and the natural expansion of some forests, the FAO said the net loss of forest area between 2000-2005 was some 7.3 million hectares a year against 8.9 million hectares in the 1990-2000 period.

FAO officials hailed the improvement in the net loss figure, saying China in particular had embarked on a major tree-growing program to provide timber for its construction boom and to tackle the process of deforestation...

South America suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 -- around 4.3 million hectares per year -- followed by Africa, which lost 4 million hectares annually.
While this may be one of the few areas where China is managing to be an environmental leader, the global outlook is still nothing short of frightening - particularly since, as pointed out in the article, the definition of "forest" means that the study doesn't account for the replacement of dense natural forests with sparse plantations. And even with that generous definition, net deforestation is still proceeding at a rate .4% of the world's forests each year. (Somehow, the FAO claims that to be a positive.)

If this is an improvement, it's only a sign that past policy was even more reckless...but unfortunately, it doesn't look like many states are taking the lead in trying to undo the damage.

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