World deforestation, biodiversity crisis, Cyclone Kenneth and a peckish 83 year old protestor

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The world lost around 30 million acres of its tropical forests last year, making it the fourth highest loss since records began in 2001, major press titles reported last week. What’s more, almost nine million acres of that loss- equivalent to the size of Belgium- was primary forest. The findings came from an analysis of satellite imagery of tree canopy cover by Global Forest Watch of The World Resources Institute. The software doesn’t however differentiate between permanent deforestation and temporary loss between natural (e.g. hurricanes) and human (e.g. mining) causes, the Huffington Post reports. Brazil made up the lion share of losses in 2018, whilst Ghana and Ivory Coast saw the biggest increase. The BBC reports that primary forests are home to jaguars and orangutans, as well as millions of indigenous peoples, They also threaten ‘runaway climate change’ for releasing the high levels of carbon stored in trees over hundreds or even thousands of year when they are cut down. The New York Times reports that Indonesia experienced a decline in deforestation for the second year running is in part thanks to ambitious forestry policies working. According to the article, the public health emergency caused by 2015 / 2016 fires spurred the Indonesia government into action, showing ‘how efforts to reduce forest loss are most effective when they originate within countries, rather than outside pressure.’

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