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As Fog Clears on Benefits of Forest Protection, Excuses for Failure Wear Thin

July 10, 2020 |

This article was originally published on Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

“A study by more than 100 researchers this week estimated the financial and wider economic benefits of setting and reaching a proposed goal to protect 30% of Earth’s land and ocean by 2030.

For forests and mangroves in tropical countries alone, doing so could avoid annual losses of $170 billion-$534 billion by 2050, it said, by preventing the flooding, climate change, soil loss and coastal storm-surge damage that occurs when vegetation is lost.

But [Frances Seymour of the World Resources Institute (WRI)] said the natural services provided by forests – including biodiversity conservation, maintaining cleaner air and water, generating rainfall and keeping temperatures cooler – had been mainly ignored by policy-makers up to now.

…Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb climate change, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions produced worldwide.

Forests also provide food and livelihoods for people living in or near them, as well as an essential habitat for wildlife.

“When policy-makers recognise those values, more attention is given to forest protection,” Seymour said, citing action by Indonesia after a bad fire season in 2015 that has helped brake deforestation rates.

Read on at: Thomson Reuters Foundation News

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