Entire rainforests set to disappear in next decade

A A A

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.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 4 Teachers to cover vacancies after resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Primary Float Teachers needed for various temporary roles

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Primary Teacher's * perm roles following resignation period

£110 - £130 per day + TBA: Randstad Education Reading: Primary Teachers needed...

Science Teacher Norwich

£25000 - £33000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are seeking ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker