Logging and land conversion for agriculture has wiped out 34 per cent of the world’s original old-growth tropical rainforests and degraded another 30 per cent, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction.
Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world’s original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals, raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing.
The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon.
Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34 per cent of the world’s original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30 per cent leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
More than half of the destruction since 2002 has been in South America’s Amazon and bordering rainforests.
The Brazilian Amazon has been under intense pressure in recent decades, as an agricultural boom has driven farmers and land speculators to torch plots of land for soybeans, beef and other crops. That trend has worsened since 2019, when right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office and began weakening environmental enforcement.