Carbon emissions from forests drop by 25 per cent: FAO

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Slowdown in deforestation contributes to emission reduction

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The world’s commitment to its forests is showing results. Fresh estimates by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggest carbon emissions from global forests reduced by 25 per cent between 2001 and 2015.

“It is encouraging to see that net deforestation is decreasing and that some countries in all regions are showing impressive progress. Among others, they include Brazil, Chile, China, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam,” says FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva. “I urge all those countries to share their successful experiences with other countries. Through South-South Cooperation programme, FAO is ready to facilitate this collaboration and knowledge exchange,” he adds.

Global emissions from deforestation dropped from 3.9 to 2.9 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year over the period of 2001-2015. Deforestation is defined as a landuse change, from forest to other land uses.

FAO emphasised at the same time that despite the overall reduction in carbon emissions from forests linked to less deforestation, emissions from forest degradation have significantly increased between 1990 and 2015, from 0.4 to 1.0 Gt CO2 per year. Forest degradation is a reduction in tree biomass density from human or natural causes such as logging, fire and other events.

FAO published these figures for the first time on the occasion of the International Day of Forests, celebrated on 21 March 2015. 

“Forests are critical to the Earth's carbon balance and hold about three-quarters as much carbon as is in the whole atmosphere. Deforestation and forest degradation increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but forest and tree growth absorbs carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emissions,” da Silva said.

 

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