Deforestation of 100 hectares per week, in one instance alone.

Scientists monitoring satellite images noticed a swathe of tropical forest disappearing in Peru.  It toook a few weeks to get accurate imagery but once done they estimated

estimated a deforestation rate of roughly 100 hectares (247 acres) per week in the tract they observed. At least one thousand hectares were cleared near Tamshiyacu.  An estimated that 300,000 tons of biomass were cut down, equal to 150,000 tons of carbon emitted to the atmosphere.  The crime is plain to see from the sky.

tamshiyacu_oli_2013240

NASA Earth Observatory note:

Across Amazonia, as well as tropical Asia, one of the newest threats to forests is the clearing of land for palm oil plantations. The production of oil palm has been dominated by Indonesia and Malaysia, where vast tracts of palm trees have replaced much of the native forest in recent decades, often through burning. With such deforestation now escalating in the Amazon, scientists are concerned about the impact on biodiversity and on the planet’s carbon budget.

Read the report here.

Also have a look at this report about new mapping tools that document forest loss and gain at high resolution and with a consistent method around the globe.  Across the study period, 2.3 million square kilometers (888,000 square miles) of forest were lost, and 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) had new growth.

Brazil cut its deforestation rate from approximately 40,000 square kilometers (15,400 square miles) per year to 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles) per year, the result of a policy to reduce deforestation.  The deforestation rate in other countries increased, eg Indonesia’s deforestation rate doubled from approximately 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) per year in 2000–2003 to more than 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles) in 2011–2012.

The data map is here.  It is good to see Ireland appears to be replacing some of its meagre tree cover.

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