Deforestation exaggerated

In: Uncategorized

14 Nov 2006

An international team of researchers has found that the trend towards deforestation is not as bad a previously assumed. The news is important as deforestation is one of the main sources of global greenhouse emissions (classified in the Stern report as part of “land use”).

An article on the BBC website says that the team used a new technique which measures timber volumes, biomass and captured carbon, rather than just land areas covered by trees. Its findings will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an American journal:

“the researchers found that forest stocks had actually expanded over the past 15 years in 22 of the world’s 50 most forested nations.

“They also showed increases in biomass and carbon storage capacity in about half of the 50 countries.

“But the data also revealed that forest area and biomass was still in decline in Brazil and Indonesia, home to some of the world’s most important rainforests.”

The report also concluded that as societies get richer they tend to shift from deforestation to net gains in tree cover:

“The researchers found that when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita reached $4,600 (£2,400), many nations experienced forest transition and saw an increase in forestry growing stock (volume of useable timber).”

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