UNITED NATIONS

 
Published: Friday 15 September 2000

The destruction of the world's forests is continuing, but evidence shows that the rate of deforestation is slowing down, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (fao).

The agency reported that its preliminary analysis of more than 300 satellite images shows that the rate of deforestation in tropical countries was at least 10 per cent less over the past ten years as compared with the data for 1980s. The survey was done as a part of the FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000.

"These preliminary results do not mean that the battle against deforestation is over, and a reduction in deforestation must not be used as an excuse for unsustainable forest practises," said Hosny El-Lakany, assistant director general of the fao forestry department.

According to the fao statistics, an estimated 15.5 hectares of forest area was cut down each year between 1980 and 1990, in developing countries, who are responsible for most of the deforestation. The main reasons behind deforestation are large-scale economic development, overharvesting of wood, overgrazing and fire.

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