The world lost a Cuba-sized area of tropical forest in 2021, putting it far off track from meeting the no-deforestation goal by 2030 that governments and companies committed to at last year’s COP26 climate summit.
Deforestation rates remained persistently high in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world’s two biggest expanses of tropical forest, negating the decline in deforestation seen in places like Indonesia and Gabon.
The diverging trends in the different countries show that “it’s the domestic politics of forests that often really make a key difference,” says leading forest governance expert Frances Seymour.
The boreal forests of Eurasia and North America also experienced a spike in deforestation last year, driven mainly by massive fires in Russia, which could set off a feedback loop of more heating and more burning.
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