Humans have destroyed two-thirds of world’s rainforest

“The good news is that we have an area half the size of Europe that is still completely intact.”

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According to a Norwegian nonprofit, two-thirds of Earth’s tropical rainforest has been destroyed by humanity. 

The Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) analysis found that human activities including logging and land-use changes—often for farming—have destroyed 34% of old-growth tropical rainforests and degraded 30% worldwide, reports EcoWatch. RFN defined degraded forests as those that are partly destroyed or fully wiped out but replaced by more recent growth.

The study found the majority of the destruction, since 2002, has been in the Amazon and its surrounding areas. 

According to Reuters, forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon.

“Forests act as a two-lane highway in the climate system. Standing forests absorb carbon, but clearing forests releases it into the atmosphere,” says Nancy Harris, Forests Program research director at the World Resources Institute (WRI).

As reported by CBS News, Anders Krogh, who authored the report and works as a special advisor at RFN, said in a press release that the findings are “alarming.”

“The good news is that we have an area half the size of Europe that is still completely intact. However, the remaining tropical rainforests are either severely damaged or increasingly fragmented. Humans are chopping these once vast and impenetrable forests into smaller and smaller pieces, undermining their ability to store carbon, cool the planet, produce rain and provide habitats. The world depends on tropical rainforests to provide these services,” says Krogh. 

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