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Think Tank Research Reveals 10% Increase in Global Forest Loss


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The loss of tropical primary forests has escalated by 10% year-on-year in 2022, resulting in the destruction of forest cover equivalent to the size of Switzerland, according to recent research. Despite international pledges to halt deforestation by 2030, made by 145 countries, the increase in deforestation continues. This article discusses the concerning findings of the report published by the University of Maryland and the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch. It highlights the leading countries contributing to deforestation, the impact on carbon emissions, and signs of positive change in some regions.


Brazil’s Role and Political Factors

Brazil, despite signing the COP26 pledge in 2021, experienced the largest loss of tropical primary forest in 2022. During former President Jair Bolsonaro’s final year in office, deforestation rates soared.

Bolsonaro has faced accusations of neglecting the issue and enabling illegal activities by criminal groups in the Amazon. The political transition and weakened environmental safeguards created a perfect storm for increased deforestation in the country.


Magnitude of Deforestation and Carbon Emissions:

The destruction of primary tropical forests is a significant contributor to global emissions, with the equivalent of 11 football fields of forests disappearing per minute in 2022.

The carbon dioxide released from this deforestation is equivalent to India’s annual fossil fuel emissions. Several countries, including Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bolivia, experienced major losses due to activities like agriculture-related deforestation.


Changing Trajectories and Positive Developments:

While Brazil witnessed a substantial increase in primary forest loss unrelated to fires, signs of positive change were observed in other regions. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro’s successor, has pledged to crack down on illegal deforestation and strengthen environmental protection agencies.

Additionally, Malaysia and Indonesia have made significant progress, with declining rates of tropical primary forest loss in recent years.

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Mixed Findings and Global Tree Cover Loss:

Although primary forest loss increased, the report reveals a 10% decline in overall global tree cover loss. Russia experienced fewer forest fires, contributing to this improvement.

However, market forces driving deforestation still outweigh the efforts to protect woodland. Scientists predict an increase in wildfires due to climate change, with forest fires burning nearly twice as much tree cover as two decades ago.



The findings of the report on global primary forest loss paint a concerning picture, with deforestation continuing to escalate despite international commitments. Brazil, with its significant loss of tropical primary forest, remains a focal point.

However, positive developments in some countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, offer hope for effective forest conservation efforts. Urgent action is needed to combat deforestation and its detrimental impact on carbon emissions, emphasizing the importance of international collaboration and strengthened environmental safeguards.

News Desk, where most of the News Item edit for THE THINK TANK JOURNAL

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