Deforestation, Global Warming and Climate Change
Deforestation generates about 20 percent of greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming and climate change. Deforestation also cripples our planet’s ability to filter carbon dioxide from our air. Destroying these carbon sinks also threatens entire watersheds, endangered species and endangered cultures.
Global tree cover loss reached a record 29.7 million hectares (73.4 million acres) in 2016 and it continued at the same pace through 2017. Much of the loss is happening in tropical rainforests, which are vital hotspots for biodiversity, including many endangered species.
The annual loss of forests now covers an area about the size of New Zealand. Forest fires contributed to the recent spike. Deforestation due to agriculture, logging, and mining continue to drive global tree cover loss.
Energy conservation, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are all part of the solution to humanity’s contribution to global warming and climate change, but we need proven carbon capture strategies to help restore balance to our atmosphere. We need forests more than ever.
The biggest cause of deforestation is agriculture – including commercial livestock and major crops such as palm oil and soy. Small-scale farmers also play a role. Mining, hydroelectricity and other infrastructure projects are taking a toll. Forest fires also are taking their toll.
- About half of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared, according to the FAO.
- Forests currently cover about 30 percent of the world’s landmass, according to National Geographic.
- The Earth is losing the equivalent of 41 soccer fields every minute.
- The country with the most deforestation is Indonesia. Since the turn of the century, Indonesia has lost at least 39 million acres (15.79 million hectares) of forest.