2018-06-27. Tropical forests suffered near-record tree losses in 2017.

posted Jul 2, 2018, 2:58 PM by Alan Gould
By Brad Plumer, San Francisco Chronicle. For GSS A New World View chapter 5, Ecosystem Change chapter 7. Excerpt: In Brazil, forest fires set by farmers and ranchers to clear land for agriculture raged out of control last year, wiping out more than 3 million acres of trees as a severe drought gripped the region. Those losses undermined Brazil’s recent efforts to protect its rain forests. In Colombia, a landmark peace deal between the government and the country’s largest rebel group paved the way for a rush of mining, logging and farming that caused deforestation in the nation’s Amazon region to spike last year. And in the Caribbean, hurricanes Irma and Maria flattened nearly one-third of the forests in Dominica and a wide swath of trees in Puerto Rico last summer. In all, the world’s tropical forests lost roughly 39 million acres of trees last year, an area roughly the size of Bangladesh or Iowa, according to a report Wednesday by Global Forest Watch that used new satellite data from the University of Maryland. Forest Watch is part of the World Resources Institute, an environmental group. That made 2017 the second-worst year for tropical tree cover loss in the satellite record, just below the losses in 2016. ...Trees, particularly those in the lush tropics, pull carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow and lock that carbon in their wood and soil. When humans cut down or burn trees, the carbon gets released back into the atmosphere, warming the planet.... https://m.sfgate.com/world/article/Tropical-forests-suffered-near-record-tree-losses-13031522.php