Forests are important for the global climate, for our common future and for hundreds of millions of people who live there.
The rainforest is one of the world’s oldest ecosystems, in some places over 60 million years. The genetic pool of the lifeforms in the world’s forests are to a large extent unmapped. The rainforest with its wealth of life forms constitutes one of our planet’s largest troves of unimagined possibilities for future generations.
Forests give vital ecosystem services, prevent erosion, hold and rinse freshwater, produce oxygen, food and give shelter to animals and humans.
Forests cover just over 4 billion hectares, 31 per cent of the world’s total land area. The majority of these are boreal forests found in Russia, the Nordic countries, Canada and Alaska.
Tropical forest are found in the Amazon in Latin America, in the Congo Basin in Africa and parts of South East Asia.
Temperate forests are found in patches in the United States, Europe and the Asian mid-latitudes.
The rate of forest loss from both deforestation and natural causes is high. The highest rates of tropical forest loss over occurs in South America and Africa.
The USA and Europe have seen some reforestation since the late 1800s. Due to global warming and climate change, droughts, forest fires and insect attacks have exacerbated forest loss.
In developing countries the key driving forces of forest loss are poverty, population growth, international demand for timber and other forest products and insecurity of the rights of local people.
The deforestation and burning of forests have been especially severe in South East Asia
- Vital Forest Graphics (GRID-A)
- New Interactive Tool Helps Track Earth’s Forests
- The Sahara forest project
- Earth Has Lost Half of Its Trees Since the Dawn of Civilization
- Forests are key to sustainable development
- In the fight to stop climate change, forests are a vital weapon (Guardian)
- The great land rush Indonesia: Saving the earth (Financial Times)
- GRID-Arendal: The state of the rain forests
- WRI: Global Forest watch
- Amazon Deforestation Increases 28 Percent in One Year (Nov 2016)
|Chapter 3||3. Impacts|
|Chapter 4||4. Ecosystems|
|4.1 Ecosystems and energy flow|
|4.3 Agricultural land|
|Chapter 5||5. Green economy|