Global emissions from deforestation fell from 3.9 to 2.9 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year in the period 2001-2015.
Deforestation is defined as a change in land use, from forest to other land uses. It is encouraging to see that overall deforestation is declining and that some countries in all regions have shown impressive progress, such as Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Cape Verde, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Turkey. and otherssaid FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.I would like to urge all countries to share their experiences with other countries. Through South-South cooperation, FAO stands ready to facilitate this collaboration and knowledge sharing.
FAO underlined at the same time that, despite the global reduction in carbon emissions from forests linked to less deforestation, emissions from forest degradation have increased significantly between 1990 and 2015, from 0.4 to 1.0 Gt of CO2 per year.
Forest degradation is a reduction in the density of tree biomass due to human or natural causes, such as logging, fire, uprooting of trees by wind, and other events. FAO first published these figures on the occasion of the International Day of Forests, which is celebrated on March 21, 2015.
The information comes from a larger FAO study based on the FAOSTAT emissions database and the 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), to be published in September 2015 as one of the highlights of the XIV World Forestry Congress to be held in Durban.
This will be the first time that this global event has been organized in Africa, under the auspices of the Government of South Africa, with more than 5,000 participants.
Managing forests sustainably to cope with the impacts of climate change Sustainable management of forests will result in reduced carbon emissions from forests and has a vital role to play in coping with the effects of climate change emphasized the Director General of FAO. Forests are critical to carbon balance, hosting almost three-quarters of the total carbon in the atmosphere. Deforestation and forest degradation increase the concentration of greenhouse gases and, in turn, the growth of forests and trees absorbs carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse effect emissionhe added. Graziano da Silva also highlighted the important role of sustainable agriculture in reducing pressure on forests, along withthe launch of the UN-REDD program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Imbalances between countries and regions The sequestration of carbon by forests helps to offset, although not totally, global emissions due to the conversion of forests to other types of land use.
Forests absorb and store an additional two million tons of CO2 per year (2011-2015), not counting emissions from deforestation.
Half of the forest carbon sink is related to the growth of planted forests.
Developed countries continue to account for the bulk of the overall estimated carbon sinks, with a 60 percent share (2011-2015).
This percentage, however, has decreased from 65 percent (2001-2010), mainly due to less creation of new forest plantations.
Developing countries account for the remaining 40 percent of the total carbon sink.
In terms of regions, Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean continued to emit more carbon than they absorb, although emissions from Africa and Latin America decreased between 1990 and 2015. Brazil alone accounts for more than 50 percent of the global reduction estimated carbon emissions between 2001 and 2015.
Forests in Europe and North America functioned as net carbon sinks between 1990 and 2015 as they absorb more carbon than they emit, while Oceania did not show a clear trend in forest emissions in the same period.
Methodology FAO's analysis is based on national data submitted to the Organization by countries with land and air measurements.
They are not directly comparable to measurements using only satellite imagery, which, while useful, do not capture certain types of forests or stages of the growth cycle, nor easily capture the dynamics of land use change.
For example, dry forests in central Africa or Brazil have large gaps between trees, often have few leaves for much of the year, making them difficult to capture by remote sensing, and regular harvesting activities in forests managed can be perceived as deforestation in satellite surveys.