New data from a Norwegian nonprofit is generating fresh concerns about humanity\u0026#039;s destruction of the natural world, revealing Monday that people have ravaged about two-thirds of original tropical rainforest cover globally.The Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) analysis found that human activities including logging and land-use changes—often for farming—have destroyed 34% of old-growth tropical rainforests and degraded 30% worldwide.RFN defined degraded forests as those that are partly destroyed or fully wiped out but replaced by more recent growth. The group\u0026#039;s definition for intact forest, considered too strict by some experts, includes only areas that are at least 500 square kilometers or 193 square miles; trees and biodiversity are at greater risk in smaller zones.Two-thirds of the world’s original tropical #rainforest cover have been degraded or destroyed, new @RainforestNORW data reveals.We need to stop destroying forests \u0026amp; other nature, for the sake of our health, biodiversity \u0026amp; #climate.https://t.co/JpCnyO2CR3 #Together4Forests— WWF EU (@WWFEU) March 8, 2021The RFN findings, reported by Reuters, show that over half of the destruction since 2002 has been in the Amazon and neighboring rainforests. Deforestation in South America—particularly within Brazil, home to the majority of the Amazon—has caused recent alarm given the role of rainforests in trapping carbon.\u0022Forests act as a two-lane highway in the climate system,\u0022 explained Nancy Harris, Forests Program research director at the World Resources Institute (WRI), earlier this year. \u0022Standing forests absorb carbon, but clearing forests releases it into the atmosphere.\u0022A forest carbon flux map released in January by organizations including WRI found that between 2001 and 2019, forests emitted an average of 8.1 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually due to deforestation and other disturbances but also absorbed 16 billion metric tonnes per year over the same period.Reuters reported Monday on RFN\u0026#039;s analysis:As more rainforest is destroyed, there is more potential for climate change, which in turn makes it more difficult for remaining forests to survive, said the report\u0026#039;s author Anders Krogh, a tropical forest researcher.\u0022It\u0026#039;s a terrifying cycle,\u0022 Krogh said. The total lost between just 2002 and 2019 was larger than the area of France, he found.Deforestation has surged in Brazil since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro—a foe of both environmental regulations and Indigenous people in his country—took office in early 2019. Brazilian forest loss hit a 12-year high in 2020, according to satellite imagery from the country\u0026#039;s space research agency.\u0022Instead of acting to prevent the increase in deforestation, the Bolsonaro government has been denying the reality of the situation, dismantling environmental agencies, and attacking NGOs who work on the ground in the Amazon,\u0022 said Greenpeace Brazil Amazon campaigner Cristiane Mazzetti in response to the data.A look at tropical rainforest deforestation globally in 2019. Brazil/Americas far and away the leader. The drivers of destruction are similar everywhere though, logging or agriculture, whether for beef cattle in Brazil or palm oil in SE Asia. https://t.co/1ISxV6BL1A pic.twitter.com/I1zm1RZ9Mr— Jake Spring (@jakespring) March 8, 2021Bolsonaro enjoyed a close relationship with former U.S. President Donald Trump—and both leaders faced an onslaught of global criticism for their similar response to various crises, from the raging coronavirus pandemic to the climate emergency.Comments from Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo on Friday suggest that the recent swearing-in of U.S. President Joe Biden may mean a shift. According to Reuters, Araújo—who has called human-caused climate change a \u0022Marxist conspiracy\u0022—said the administrations are now collaborating on the crisis.\u0022Something that was regarded as an impediment... is totally out of the way. We are now working together... as key partners towards a successful COP26 and fully implementing climate agreements,\u0022 said Araújo, referring to the United Nations climate summit rescheduled for November due to the pandemic.A U.N. report released late last month found that the international community is quite far off from meeting the Paris climate agreement\u0026#039;s 1.5°C and 2°C temperature targets based on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction pledges that governments have proposed for the next decade.Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Brazilian group Observatório do Clima, called Bolsonaro\u0026#039;s plan \u0022a trainwreck of reduced ambition\u0022 that \u0022violates the Paris agreement by giving the country a free pass to emit 200 million tons to 400 million tons of CO2 more than the 2015 pledge.\u0022\u0022It totally eliminates any mention of deforestation control and it lacks clarity on its conditionality,\u0022 added Astrini. He warned against accepting \u0022such a dangerous precedent\u0022 and called for global pressure on his government \u0022to go back to the drawing board\u0022 and formulate a pledge \u0022with real targets.\u0022Most of the remaining #rainforest is still in the Amazon, which gives hope, but current rate of destruction is frightening https://t.co/CGnWVPfdr6— Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) (@RainforestNORW) March 8, 2021The Amazon \u0022represents the best hope for preserving what rainforest remains,\u0022 Reuters noted, adding that Krogh found the world\u0026#039;s largest rainforest \u0022and its neighbors—the Orinoco and the Andean rainforest—account for 73.5% of tropical forests still intact.\u0022While that fact \u0022gives hope,\u0022 RFN tweeted Monday, the \u0022current rate of destruction is frightening.\u0022The group found that after South American rainforests, the top deforestation hot zones since 2002 have been Southeast Asian islands where trees have been cleared for palm oil plantations followed by Central Africa—specifically around the Congo River basin, where forest loss results from agriculture and logging.