The world celebrates Earth Day on April 22 every year. We take an oath to save trees, forests, biodiversity. But our forests are under stress and the situation is dangerous.
Forests cover a third of the world’s land. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Earth’s forest area was about 50 million square kilometres. According to World Bank’s “World Development Indicator 2016”, since 1990, the world has lost 1.3 million square kilometres of forests, an area larger than South Africa or 1,000 football fields. According to Earth Day Network, “the situation is dire; forests are being eliminated very rapidly and time is quickly running out.”
According to a study published in research journal “Nature”, dated September 2015, there are about 3 trillion trees on Earth – about 400 trees per person. Of these trees, approximately 1.30 trillion exist in tropical and subtropical forests, with 0.74 trillion in boreal regions and 0.66 trillion in temperate regions. It is estimated, that over 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and the global number of trees has fallen by approximately 46% since the start of human civilization. Tropical regions are seeing the fastest loss of forests.
Indonesia, with its thriving paper and palm oil industries, is losing more forest area than any other country. The greatest loss between 1990 and 2015 occurred in South America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank.
India is among top 10 countries which hold 2/3 of the world’s forests. According to a World Bank report, India has 0.7 millions of square kilometres of forests. India is also facing the impact of Anthropogenic Climate Change and Global Warming. Industrialization, Urbanization, Agriculture expansion and decreasing Household size are enhancing deforestation and depleting biodiversity.
The 21st century is the century of climate change and global warming, and the world community is facing the same. Human activities are raising the level of carbon dioxide by about two parts per million a year, in the atmosphere. Forests are bio-sequesters of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas responsible for increasing Earth temperature and help in controlling climate change and global warming. Forests are lungs of mother earth. But these are in peril.
The World Bank’s report, “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience”, concluded that the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action now.
When Lungs of Earth will be healthy, then our lungs will also be healthy. Take action.