April 20, 2021

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International Research: Product consumption in rich countries accelerates deforestation of tropical forests

Deforestation

Timber illegally felled from the Amazon rainforest was piled up at a sawmill in Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil. (Reuters)

deforestation: Timber illegally felled from the Amazon rainforest was piled up at a sawmill in Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil.

Researchers pointed out that the increasing demand for dozens of commodities such as soybeans, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and timber in rich countries has accelerated the pace of deforestation in tropical regions.

Researchers published a report in the professional academic journal “Nature-Ecology and Evolution” under Springer Nature, saying that the net increase in domestic forests in many countries has increased, but the “deforestation footprint” is also the same. Time increased because of imported goods. The study shows that each person in the Group of Seven (Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, the United States, and Canada) costs the world an average of 3.9 trees per year. In 2015, the last year when all data are available, the planet lost more than 3 billion trees.

Agence France-Presse reported that this first quantitative analysis of how imports from rich countries caused deforestation showed that in five of these seven countries (Japan, Germany, France, Britain, and Italy), their “deforestation footprint” was 91%. Up to 99% occur abroad, and half of them are in tropical regions.

Previously, there have been studies analyzing the relationship between the global supply chain and deforestation, but most of the studies were only carried out at the regional level, or only focused on some specific commodities.

China News Agency reported that the authors of the paper, Keiichiro Kanemoto and Nguyen Tien Hoang, the Institute of Comprehensive Geoenvironmental Sciences in Kyoto, Japan, will compare their previously published information on forest loss and its main causes with the results from 2001 to 2015. A global database of domestic and international trade relations of 15,000 industrial sectors is combined each year. Using these data, they quantified the domestic and international “deforestation footprint” of each country based on the consumption of each country’s population.

After studying the deforestation patterns of specific commodities, the author of the paper found that cocoa consumption in Germany poses a high risk to the forests of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana; deforestation along the coast of Tanzania is related to Japan’s demand for agricultural products.

Their research also shows that the main causes of deforestation in different countries may vary: the deforestation in the central highlands of Vietnam is mainly derived from coffee consumption in the United States, Germany, and Italy, while the deforestation in northern Vietnam is mainly related to exports to China, South Korea, and Japan. Wood related.

The author of the paper concluded that in order to improve the regulatory system and protect forests through scientific intervention, it is necessary to understand the specific relationship between global trade and deforestation.

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