Deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. Cars and trucks account for 14% of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute 15% to deforestation.
According to a new survey of Brazil’s Atlantic forests, mammal extinctions are occurring at least twice as fast as previous estimates suggested. Jaguars, lowland tapirs, woolly spider-monkeys, and giant anteaters are almost absent from Brazil’s northeastern forests, which are among the most ancient and threatened tropical ecosystems on Earth.
India’s official forest surveys indicate that the country’s 1.2 billion people are managing to preserve its rich forests, even in the face of growing demands for timber and agricultural land. However, Ranjit Gill, a senior official of the Forest Survey of India, states that the nation’s forests have been overestimated and that illegal felling of teak and sal trees in the northeast of the country has devastated forests.
A new study published in the journal Science suggests that humans might have played a significant part in the sudden deforestation of rainforests from Central Africa. This work contradicts the prevailing view that the expansion of farming practices was the root cause as well as the increased incidence of long, severe dry spells.