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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Deforestation continues
10/21/2010
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UN report finds trend slows in some areas, but expanding industry continues to take toll on forestland.

The net annual loss of the world´s forests from 2000 to 2010 equals an area about the size of Costa Rica, the United Nations said in a report released in October, and South America lost the largest area in the period.

The Food and Agriculture Organization´s Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010 found that deforestation has slowed in recent years, particularly in some of the world´s countries with the largest areas of forest land, such as Brazil, which had one of the highest deforestation rates in the 1990s.

Forest lands, which store a large amount of carbon, help offset climate change, as well as mitigating the effects of natural disasters, an increasing number of which plague Latin America and the Caribbean.

The net annual loss of forests between 2000 and 2010 was 5.2 million hectares a year, down from 8.3 million hectares a year in the 1990s, said the UN agency.

"Not only have countries improved their forest policies and legislation, they have also allocated forests for use by local communities and indigenous peoples and for the conservation of biological diversity and other environmental functions,” said Eduardo Rojas, assistant director-general of the FAO´s forestry department. “However, the rate of deforestation is still very high in many countries and the area of primary forest — forests undisturbed by human activity — continues to decrease, so countries must further strengthen their efforts to better conserve and manage them.”

Over the last decade, South America lost 4.4 million hectares of forest between 2000 and 2005, and 3.58 million between 2005 and 2010, as industries such as industrial farming — particularly of soy — continued to grow.
—Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Trend of Forest Areas in thousands of hectares/year*

Country
2000-2005
2005-2010 
Argentina
-252
-240
Brazil
-3,090
2,194
Bolivia
-271
-308
Chile
42
38
Colombia
-101
-101
Costa Rica
23
23
Cuba
52
35
Ecuador
-198
-198
El Salvador
-5
-4
Guatemala
-54
-56
Haiti
-1
-1
Honduras
-120
-120
Mexico
-235
-155
Nicaragua
-70
-70
Panama
-12
-12
Paraguay
-179
-179
Peru
-94
-150
Uruguay
22
45
Venezuela
-288
-288

*Net gain or loss in forest’s area for each year of the reference period.
Source: FAO


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