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  Yahoo News 13 May 07
Some of world's forests recovering, but net loss persists: FAO

Yahoo News 14 Mar 07
UN: U.S., Europe deforestation reversed
By MARTA FALCONI, Associated Press Writer

13 Mar 07
World's Forests Disappearing But at Slower Rate
Story by Robin Pomeroy

ROME - An area of forest twice the size of Paris disappears every day although the rate of global deforestation has started to slow, according to a United Nations report issued on Tuesday.

"Deforestation continues and it continues at an unacceptable rate, however there are signs of potential change," said Wulf Killmann, a forestry expert at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which published the report.

The destruction of forests not only reduces habitat available for wildlife but also adds to the greenhouse effect because the carbon stored in trees is released into the atmosphere.

Deforestation accounts for 18 percent of the carbon dioxide produced each year, a significant proportion of the emissions scientists say are causing global warming which also poses risks to forests via increased fires and the spread of pests.

Demand for agricultural land is one of the main reasons that forests continue to be erased at the rate of 13 million hectares a year, an area about the size of England.

However, moves by some countries to replant forests has meant the annual net loss has dropped from around 9 million hectares in the 1990s to 7.3 million, according to the "State of the World's Forests 2007" report.

A huge tree planting programme in China, for example, more than offset large-scale deforestation in other parts of Asia such as Indonesia, to produce a net increase in the amount of forested land in the Asia-Pacific region during the first five years of the decade.

China's economic boom has driven demand for wood and the country has adopted a tree planting policy, not only to reduce its reliance on imported timber, but also for soil protection, especially in areas near the Gobi desert, Killmann said.

In Africa and Latin America, there are fewer positive signs. Forested land in Latin America -- home to the Amazon -- fell to less than half of the continent's area. By 2005, forests were estimated at 47 percent of the total land, from 51 in 1990.

More than half of global deforestation in the period 2000-2005 happened in Africa, the report said, underlining its conclusion that poverty and war are major contributors to forest destruction.

Although economic growth often contributes to illegal logging, the FAO concluded that development was, on the whole, beneficial to forests as wealthier countries were more likely to establish conservation policies.

Citing the growth in forests in India and China, it concluded: "Economic development appears to be a necessary condition for deforestation to cease."

Yahoo News 14 Mar 07
UN: U.S., Europe deforestation reversed
By MARTA FALCONI, Associated Press Writer

The United States and much of Europe have reversed years of deforestation and are showing a net increase in wooded areas, while most developing countries continue to cut down their trees, a U.N. agency said Tuesday.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said in its biannual report on the State of the World's Forests that economic prosperity and careful forest management had positive effects.

However, poor or conflict-stricken countries--where clear-cutting and uncontrolled fires are especially severe--still face serious challenges in managing their wooded areas, the agency said.

"Deforestation continues at an unacceptable rate" of about 32 million acres a year, said Wulf Killmann, a forestry expert at the agency. However, he noted in a positive sign that the net loss had decreased over the last decade from 22 million acres to 17 million acres.

The United States reported an annual increase in forest area of 0.12 in the 1990s and 0.05 percent from 2000 to 2005. That increase, however, was accompanied by deforestation in Mexico, which reported a 0.52 percent decrease in the 1990s and a 0.40 percent decrease in wooded areas from 2000 to 2005.

Canada reported no change during those periods.

In Europe, the report said the net increase was due to efforts in Spain and Italy, followed by Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Greece. Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are currently the regions with the highest losses of wood-covered regions, especially in tropical areas.

Africa, which accounts for about 16 percent of the global forests, lost over 9 percent of its trees between 1990 and 2005, the agency said. In Latin America and the Caribbean, home to nearly half of the world's forests, 0.5 percent were lost every year between 2000 and 2005 --up from an annual net rate of 0.46 percent in the 1990s.

On the positive side, wooded area increased in Asia between 2000 and 2005. The increase was limited to East Asia, where investment in tree plantations in China offset high rates of clear-cutting in other regions, the report said.

Forested area in most European countries is also increasing, while it is stable in Canada and the United States.

Among the major causes of deforestation cited by Killmann were conversion of land for farming or livestock. Forests cover just under 9.88 billion acres, about 30 percent of the world's land area. The world lost 3 percent of its wooded areas between 1995 and 2000, the agency said.

Yahoo News 13 May 07
Some of world's forests recovering, but net loss persists: FAO

ROME (AFP) - Forests are expanding in several regions of the world but each day sees a net loss equivalent to an area twice the size of Paris, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Tuesday.

From 2000 to 2005, 57 countries reported an increase in forest area, and 83 reported a decrease, the Rome-based agency said as it unveiled its annual forestry report. However, the net forest loss remains at 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) per year or 20,000 hectares per day, said the report titled "The State of the World's Forests."

"A number of regions of the world are reversing centuries of deforestation and are now showing an increase in forest area," the FAO said in an accompanying statement.

The report stressed that economic prosperity and careful forest management were key factors in saving forests, noting that more than 100 countries have national forest programmes.

"Many countries have shown the political will to improve forest management by revising policies and legislation and strengthening forestry institutions," said FAO number two David Harcharik.

He added, however: "Countries that are facing the most serious challenges in achieving sustainable forest management are those with the highest rates of poverty and civil conflict."

The report also warned of growing evidence that forests will be profoundly affected by climate change, notably with a greater incidence of fire, pests and diseases.

Global forest covers about 30 percent of the world's land area. From 1990 to 2005, the world lost three percent of its total forest area, an average decrease of some 0.2 percent per year, according to FAO data.

Ten countries account for 80 percent of the world's primary forests, of which Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Brazil saw the highest losses in primary forest in the five years from 2000 to 2005.

Europe and North America showed net increases in forest area over the same period, while Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are the two regions with the highest losses. Africa, which accounts for about 16 percent of the total global forest area, lost over nine percent of its forests between 1990 and 2005.

Latin America and the Caribbean, with nearly half of the world's forests, saw an increase in the annual net loss between 2000 and 2005, from 0.46 percent to 0.51 percent, the report said.

On the FAO website: Global report cites progress in slowing forest losses; Progress in forest management welcomed or download the report "State of the World's Forests, 2007"

Related articles on Global issues: biodiversity loss and Forests
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