Deforestation: 2 measures to be implemented in 2023 to combat deforestation

Although the year 2022 is synonymous with dizzying records of deforestation in the Amazon basin (8,590 km² of forest was destroyed between January and September, which is the size of the island of Puerto Rico or almost 82 times the size of Paris), scientists predict that the world’s largest forest will simply are concerned about reaching a “tipping point” much sooner than expected that will result in the collapse of its ecosystem… with dramatic consequences on global climate change. State of play with Eric MoranvalGreenpeace is responsible for forest campaigns.

What effect does deforestation have on climate change?

Forests are the second carbon sink after the oceans. Therefore, these ecosystems are able to store greenhouse gases in the atmosphere very efficiently. Many people are unaware of this, but their destruction releases so many of these greenhouse gases stored in the soil or leaves that deforestation today accounts for 12% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions! Primary forests are the best carbon sequesters and have the largest carbon and greenhouse gas stocks. Therefore, they are real climate bombs. For example, the “history of creation” of the Amazon forest is estimated by scientists to be about twenty million years, that is, so many years of carbon reserves! It has lost “only” 20% of its original surface so far, but that’s enough to destabilize its entire drier and drier ecosystem. We are talking about the “savanization” of the Amazon. The world’s largest rainforest is no longer able to regenerate, so it could literally turn into a dry savannah, which is a very worrying phenomenon in the long term. While simultaneously releasing devastating amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Aerial view of the slash and burn off Adger Lake.Young Pictures

What are the main causes of deforestation today?

According to the latest FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) figures, 90% of global deforestation is due to agricultural activities. In South America, on the one hand, there is cattle ranching (usually cattle ranching in the Amazon is the engine of almost 90% deforestation). On the other hand, soybean fields are then exported all over the world, including Europe, to feed cattle. Indonesia’s forests are being destroyed by palm oil production. In Central Africa, shared agricultural activities between rubber plantations or cocoa plantations for rubber crops and subsistence agriculture and commercial agriculture are a constant threat to the ecosystem. Finally, there is a constant phenomenon all over the world: illegal trafficking of rare and valuable trees, which are very expensive and exported all over the world. The European Union raised the issue in 2010 by adopting a regulation banning the importation of illegally cut timber anywhere in the world from 2013. The idea was to ban this tree from the European market, but the rules were not properly followed. According to the European Commission’s 2021 report, only 12-29% of the volume of illegal timber sold in Europe was prevented thanks to this regulation. A derisive figure based on the initial ambition of how insufficient the adoption of the text is: it should be coupled with adequate controls and sanctions. Legal cases related to the timber trade will lead to hearings in France over the next few months. Therefore, the first court cases begin to appear in 2022… It is a very long process.

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World Vegan Month: 5 good reasons to eat vegan

According to a recent report by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one of the solutions for halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and ensuring a livable future on Earth will be a diet based on plant-based proteins.

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Our meat consumption is therefore directly responsible for deforestation… Isn’t this trend (thankfully) downward?

In particular, meat consumption tends to decline in France, but this is not the case for poultry, the livestock sector that imports the most soybeans from South America today. Meat production needs to be completely reduced because it is not environmentally sustainable. A 2019 study found that 89% of soybeans imported into France and Europe are intended for animal feed. The problem is that demand for soybeans is increasing, and Brazil is responding exponentially. If we transfer the areas needed for this production, it would represent an absolutely huge agricultural area, equal to several French departments. However, we are campaigning in France and Europe to promote the production of vegetable proteins (for feeding animals or directly to humans).

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