Within the last 20 years, countries with vast areas of tropical rain forest such as Brazil, have made stronger efforts to enact anti-deforestation laws and, as a result, have seen a decreasing trend of deforestation. The figures below all pertain specifically to deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon.
1988 – 21,050 sq. kilometers
1994 – 14,896 sq. kilometers
1995 – 29,059 sq. kilometers -Peak year, deforestation rate jumped from 0% growth to 95%
2002 – 21,651 sq. kilometers
2010 – 6,451 sq. kilometers
In Borneo however, forest cover has dropped from 73.7% in 1985 to 44.4% in 2010. Here now stand vast oil palm and rubber plantations and immense logging projects.
Rain forest deforestation has been brought to international attention as a leading cause of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Organizations like The Nature Conservancy are initiating local efforts to reforest some of the world’s most damaged rain forests, such as Brazil’s Atlantic Forest which only spans 12% of its original area. Yet while some destroyed forests are on the upswing, there is still an estimated 50,000 square miles of forest destroyed each year for commercial purposes (nature.org). Widespread international rain forest protection is limited, developing nations see too much economic opportunity to stop these commercial processes. A Nature Conservancy program called REDD is attempting to create credits for rain forest protection in the carbon trading market. If this hypothetical market comes to show true economic value, then developing countries may have incentive to stop deforestation.
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