According to United Nation’s Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA) 2015 report, world’s forests have shrunk by three per cent since 1990 – an area equivalent to the size of South Africa – and India is among the countries that are losing their forest cover faster than others.
Professor Rod Keenan, forestry expert at the University of Melbourne, headed a team of academics analysing the GFRA data for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The globe’s forests have shrunk despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade. The green cover is being more rapidly lost in some of the developing and poorest countries including India, Vietnam and Ghana.
Total global forest area has declined by three percent between 1990 and 2015 from 4,128 million hectares to 3,999 million hectares – a loss of 129 million hectares, with Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria recording the biggest losses over the past five years.
– Agricultural land development by large and small scale producers is believed to be the main driver behind the decreases.
– In low-income countries with high forest cover, forests are being cleared for direct subsistence by individuals and families and large scale agriculture for broader economic development.
– Some countries have policies and regulations to protect forests, but they do not have the capacity and resources to implement them.
– Natural events, such as fire and drought.