Entire rainforests set to disappear in next decade
More than 23 million acres of the world's forests - enough to cover the whole of Scotland - are disappearing each year because of logging, mining and land clearance for agriculture.
The scale of deforestation is so great that some countries, such as Indonesia, could lose entire rainforests in the next 10 years. The appetite for wood for furniture, floors and building in Europe and North America is shrinking the world's forests at a rate of 2.4 per cent every 10 years, official figures show.
Hilary Benn, an International Development minister, who released the United Nations statistics, said that they did not take into account deforestation caused by "trade in illegal timber".
According to the UN figures showing the depletion of forests between 1990 and 2000, the worst-affected country was Haiti, which lost 5.7 per cent of its stock in that period. Saint Lucia's forestry was eroded by 4.9 per cent and El Salvador's by 4.6 per cent. Other big losers included Micronesia (4.5 per cent), Comoros (4.3 per cent) and Rwanda (3.9 per cent).
The habitats of the orang-utan, bonobo ape and lowland gorilla are under threat and the world's rarest creatures, including the Sumatran tiger and rhino, are being forced to retreat into Indonesia's ever- shrinking forests.
The figures follow the disclosure by The Independent of the alarming rate at which the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed. Logging of Brazil's rainforests has leapt by 40 per cent in the past year, with 25,500sq km felled in that time.
Andy Tait, the forests campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "The world bank estimates that the lowland rainforest of Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia, which is the home of the orang-utan, has less than 10 years to go until it is completely logged out."
MPs called on the Government to put more pressure on international governments to use wood produced in sustainable logging programmes.
Norman Baker, Environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said the Government must stop using mahogany and sapele wood in its public building projects.
"Deforestation is an almost irreversible process. You cannot grow a forest overnight. Excessive forest farming must be curbed. Otherwise the adage that 'forests proceed man, deserts follow him' will sadly ring true," he said.
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Three-quarters of extremely hot days influenced by man-made global warming, scientists say
Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
Lynx to be reintroduced into wild in Britain after a 1,300-year absence
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
- 1 The scientist who takes 100 drugs a day so he can live to 150
- 2 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...