Tropical Primary Forest Cover

Context:  Tropical areas lost 4.1 million hectares of forest cover – in 2022 as per new research quoted by the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch.  Key Findings of Global Forest Watch Global Trends:
  • Forest Loss and Carbon Emissions in Tropics: 
    • Forest Cover Loss in Tropical Areas: 4.1 Million Hectares Lost in 2022
    • Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Forest Loss: 2.7 Billion Tonnes, Equivalent to India’s Annual Fossil Fuel Emissions
    • Increase in Primary Forest Cover Loss: 10% Higher in 2022 Compared to 2021
    • Global Deforestation Rate: 3.1% Lower than 2018-2020 Baseline in 2022
    • 100 Million Hectares
    • Brazil and Democratic Republic of Congo: Countries with Highest Tropical Forest Cover Loss
    • Indonesia and Malaysia: Record Low Levels of Primary Forest Cover Loss in 2022
  • Progress towards achieving forest related goals:
    • The world is not on track to meet most of its forest related commitments like ending deforestation by 2030, and restoring 350 million hectares (mha) of lost and degraded forests by 2030.
    • Global deforestation should be reduced by at least 10% every year to meet the 2030 target.
India Specific Data:
  • Loss of Primary Forest Cover: India lost 43.9 thousand hectares of humid primary forest between 2021 and 2022, which accounts for 17% of the country’s total tree cover loss in the period.
    • The total tree cover loss in India between 2021 and 2022 was 255, 000 hectares.
About Global Forest Watch:
  • It is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests.
  • It allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world.
  • Established in:  1997 by World Resource Institute.
  • It was established as a part of the Forest Frontiers Initiative.
  • It started as a network of NGOs producing up-to-date reports about the state of forests in 4 pilot countries: Cameroon, Canada, Indonesia, Gabon
What are Primary forests?
  • Primary forests are some of the densest, wildest and most ecologically significant forests on Earth.
  • Characteristics: Primary forests are: 
    • largely undisturbed by industrial-scale land uses and infrastructure such as logging, mining, and dams and roads
    • the result of ecological and evolutionary processes including the full range of successional stages over time and with natural disturbance processes operating within historic bounds
    • more likely to possess the full complement of their evolved, characteristic plant and animal species with few if any exotics
    • dominated by a largely continuous tree canopy cover
    • have unpolluted soil and water
  • Global Distribution: They span the globe, from the snow-locked boreal region to the steamy tropics, though 75% of them can be found in just seven countries.
  • Importance: 
    • Primary forests are mature, natural forests that have remained undisturbed in recent history.
    • They often store more carbon than other forests and are rich sources of biodiversity.
    • Primary forest loss is almost irreversible in nature: even if the green cover regrows, a secondary forest is unlikely to match the extent of biodiversity and carbon sequestering capabilities of a primary forest.
News Source: The Hindu 
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