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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory