Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(Image: Greenpeace)

Groups: Time Is Now To End 'Shocking Degradation' of World's Forests

'We will lose these incredible landscapes and the forests that they contain if no action is taken to protect them.'

Sarah Lazare

The world's last remaining forest wildernesses are being damaged and destroyed by human activity at the shocking rate of 20,000 hectares—nearly 50,000 acres—per day, according to research findings announced Thursday.

Greenpeace, the University of Maryland, Transparent World, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund-Russia employed satellite imaging and mapping technology to chart out the global loss of Intact Forest Landscapes, which are unbroken areas of forest large enough to display biodiversity and bearing no damage from human logging, road construction, fossil fuel extraction, and more.

According to the groups, if something is not done to end the rate of destruction, these vital ecosystems could be wiped out completely before the end of next century.

The mapping done by the research found that a total area of IFLs three times the size of Germany was degraded between 2000 and 2013—amounting to over 8 percent of the world's undisturbed forests.

The largest areas of forest wilderness destruction taking place in the Northern Boreal forests of Canada, Russia and Alaska and tropical forests including the Amazon and Congo basins. Canada, Russia and Brazil are responsible for over 50 percent of this degradation, with extractive industries playing a critical role in the damage.

“There is an urgent need for governments to heed the calls of their citizens and to respect the rights of forest-dependent peoples by properly protecting remaining intact forests,"  said Dr. Nigel Sizer, Global Director of the Forest Program at WRI, and head of Global Forest Watch.

"Most of the degradation of intact forest landscapes is caused by fragmentation from roadbuilding, logging  and clearing, meaning that we will lose these incredible landscapes and the forests that they contain if no action is taken to protect them," reads a Greenpeace statement about the findings.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Science Museum Just Killed Its 'Own Reputation,' Says Greta Thunberg After Docs Reveal Gag Clause With Shell

"It essentially creates a 'chilling effect,' where museum staff must refrain from speaking openly about the reality of Shell's activities."

Andrea Germanos ·

With New Guaranteed Income Bill, Omar Proposes Sending Most People in US $1,200 Per Month

"We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing, and healthcare met," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Kenny Stancil ·

On Medicare's 56th Birthday, Activists Deliver 125,000+ Petitions Urging Congress to Expand the Program

"The 56th anniversary is as good as any other occasion to expand Medicare to cover more people, to do the work that has not been done for generations."

Jake Johnson ·

'A Very Serious Threat': CDC Document Warns Delta Variant Is as Contagious as Chickenpox

"People need to understand that we're not crying wolf here," said the CDC director. "It's one of the most transmissible viruses we know about."

Jake Johnson ·

As Biden Refuses to Act, Dems Make Last-Minute Push to Extend Eviction Moratorium

"If the administration won't act to extend the national eviction moratorium that expires on Saturday, we must," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Jake Johnson ·