It takes million of years for the forests to evolve and they are no doubt a precious treasure trove, known for its #biodiversity, inhabiting variety of plants, animals, insects, aquatic and micro organism. Unfortunately, roughly 3 million square kilometers of forest, constituting 27% of forest area is already lost permanently in a span of 15 years from 2001-2015 and the remaining 73% of area is subjected to deforestation due to sustainable forestry, subsistence farming and wildfires, where there will be temporary loss for the vegetation that can be recovered.

Although previous studies could document the forest destruction, never before a global data of this magnitude, detailing the information on why, what, where, and how it is taking place with what effect is gathered till date.

For the first time, researchers used trained computers to analyze satellite images to trace the way the deforestation is taking place across the regions of the globe and plotted them on a map to spot the drive behind the forest loss. To our surprise, the reasons are far and wide. While the forests in South America and Southeast Asia are decimated to grow palm oil or soy plantations, North America and Europe are busy clearing forests for industrial and urban needs. The age old #subsistence_farm practices are responsible for #deforestation in Sub-Sahara Africa. #Policy_makers, communities, and the society at large are zealous enough in clearing forests but not ready to compensate the loss through seedling or sapling.

Researchers from the University of Maryland in College Park have published this report in ‘Science’ on 14th September this year with a hope that this study would enhance our understanding on   ‘why forests are shrinking?’ and what could be its ecological impact?  While the subsistence forming in Sub-Sahara Africa is leading to loss of tree diversity, clearing forests for plantation would cause #droughts in the long run. This data can be used to monitor whether or not the corporate sectors are honoring their commitments in protecting forests as per the claims made while selling their products.  “Understanding the reasons for the forest loss also enables us to estimate the carbon cycle”, explain the researchers. Trees save CO2 in huge quantities and cutting trees would release #carbon_di_oxide, a #green_house_gases in huge quantity, the root cause for the #climate_change.

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