A recent study, published by the Global Forest Watch platform, reveals that Brazil is responsible for the disappearance of 43% of the 4.1 million hectares of primary tropical forests lost worldwide in 2022.
It thus emerges that Brazil, with 1.8 million hectares of forests destroyed mainly in the Amazon, is followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (512,000 hectares) and Bolivia (386,000 hectares).
Together, these three countries recorded an increase in deforestation last year.
Among the 10 most land clearing countries are also Peru and Colombia in fifth and sixth place respectively, as well as other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, which have nevertheless recorded a drop in the rate of deforestation.
According to the Global Forest Watch network of the World Research Institute (WRI), which carried out this study in collaboration with the University of Maryland on the basis of satellite images, the destruction of the forest “resulted in 2.7 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to all of India’s annual fossil fuel emissions,” Mikaela Weisse, director of Global Forest Watch, told reporters via telematics.
In the three countries where tropical forests have suffered the most destruction, deforestation has increased compared to 2021: in Brazil by 14.5%, in DR Congo by 2.7% and in Bolivia by 32%.
Illegal mining and illegal timber trade, but also road construction, increased pasture and land encroachment, have been major causes of deforestation in South American countries.
According to WRI Forest Program Global Director Rod Taylor, a year after 145 countries agreed in Glasgow to halt deforestation by 2030, deforestation has continued and even increased, although an annual reduction of 10% is needed to reduce deforestation to zero in seven years.
“Are we making progress towards stopping deforestation? The answer is simple: no! “, he lamented.
Primary tropical rainforests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet and are particularly important for climate balance as they store large amounts of carbon dioxide.
The report notes that deforestation in Brazil was the highest since 2005, especially in the Amazon region, which is home to the largest area of tropical rainforest in the world. This generated 1.2 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide emissions, or “2.5 times the country’s annual fossil fuel emissions,” Weisse explained.
Recovering the biome is one of the main commitments of Brazilian President Lula Da Silva (left), who has just launched unprecedented funding for sustainable agriculture after declaring war on illegal mining activities.