Benji Jones in Vox:
Over the last decade, dozens of companies and nearly all large countries have vowed to stop demolishing forests, a practice that destroys entire communities of wildlife and pollutes the air with enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. A big climate conference in Glasgow, in the fall of 2021, produced the most significant pledge to date: 145 countries, including Brazil, China, and Indonesia, committed to “halt and reverse” forest loss within the decade. Never before, it seems, has the world been this dedicated to stopping deforestation.
And yet forests continue to fall.
A new analysis by the research organization World Resources Institute reveals that deforestation remained rampant in 2022. More than 4 million hectares (about 10 million acres) of forests vanished from the tropics that year in places like Brazil and Central Africa, according to the analysis, which is based on data from the University of Maryland. That’s a Switzerland-size area of forest gone, WRI said. Alarmingly, the world lost 10 percent more tropical forest in 2022 compared to the previous year, indicating that countries are, on the whole, moving in the wrong direction. This is especially troubling considering that tropical forests are among the most important ecosystems on Earth. They help regulate weather, store vast amounts of carbon, and provide homes to the richest assemblages of wildlife on the planet.