Dramatic forest decline until 2050

WWF predicts loss of forest areas seven times the size of Germany

Clearing for oil palm plantations in a tormo forest on Borneo © Alain Compost / WWF
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The earth is threatened by a forest loss of 230 million hectares by 2050, which would correspond to an area seven times the size of Germany. This is the result of a study now presented by the environmental organization WWf. Particularly affected are the tropical rainforests. This further disappearance of the forests would have a significant negative impact on climate, biodiversity and global economic development.

The United Nations declared 2011 the Year of Forests. The reason: The valuable resource and habitat for numerous animal and plant species is in acute danger. Every minute, 35 football fields of valuable forest disappear around the world. Especially in the last twenty years, large parts of the rainforests have been destroyed worldwide. Currently there are about 13 million hectares per year. Particularly affected are the tropical rainforests. The situation has now escalated to the point where there could be no more rainforests in 2020.

"Forest is one of the most important natural resources of the earth: trees provide the habitat for countless species. Forests provide clean air, prevent erosion, improve soil quality, and filter and store drinking water. They not only provide the livelihood for humans and nature, but also for many companies. Therefore, the rapid loss of forest also threatens the economy, and therefore the goal of zero net deforestation is not alone the task of politics, "said Philipp Göltenboth, head of the forest program at WWF Germany.

35 football fields per minute

At present, the earth loses forest in the order of 35 football fields per minute. The new study published now shows that if deforestation continues unabated, another 230 million hectares of forest will be lost by 2050. The study is the first chapter of a broad-based WWF Living Forests report to be launched on the occasion of the UN Year of Forests.

However, the rapid decline of the forest is not only the fault of the densely wooded emerging and developing countries, but also goes to the account of Germany and other industrialized countries: "We Germans consume 20 million tons of paper every year alone, " says Göltenboth. "Per capita, that's an average of 235 kilos per year for kitchen rolls, paper cups, advertising leaflets, printer paper and handkerchiefs. This places Germany at the top of the EU. "Advertisement

Act also in industrialized countries

The WWF calls for a joint action by industry and politics to stop the so-called net deforestation and the so-called forest degradation by 2020. This means monotonous,

To prevent species-poor forests as well as the loss of complete forest areas. In return, the sustainable use of forests must be promoted. In order to reduce deforestation, it is necessary to curb global consumption and stop the waste of energy and food. The managers of the global forest decline are politics and the economy. They are sitting on the branch where we all sit, "says G ltenboth. It is important now to take the polluter in the obligation.

Alternatives are possible

The new study also shows that there are definitely sustainable, profitable alternatives. One example is the "Heart of Borneo" initiative supported by the WWF. In the 220, 000 square kilometer area, companies are implementing sustainable forest management, while at the same time strengthening the political criteria for land use and protection. At the same time, economic and fiscal incentives are created for sustainable business. The island of Borneo is part of Indonesia and belongs to the most forested regions of the world.

(WWF Germany, 28.04.2011 - NPO)