(1/6) Deforestation: an inventory in 2019

After launching in 2018 a Beekeeping Pilot, Naturevolution start a reforestation project near the villages of Makay: village forests. But we could start this project without first explaining how it fits in the specific context of Makay and a worrying global context. Through 6 items we take stock of the current state and causes of deforestation in the world, in Madagascar and Makay on what governments are doing to fight against on reforestation initiatives around the world Madagascar, and finally on the most impactful actions an individual can take to fight against deforestation. An entire program !

A disturbing trend

The phenomenon of deforestation caused by the development of human activity is not new. Long before the development of agriculture, Wise man had a considerable impact on forests, but the low population density and mobility of the hunter-gatherer allowed the forests to regenerate to a certain extent.

However, that massive deforestation continues in the 21st century dans un contexte de raréfaction des surfaces forestières riches en biodiversité, de crise d’extinction du vivant, et de réchauffement climatique rapide est extrêmement inquiétant. Considéré comme « hors de contrôle » dans de nombreux pays du monde, la déforestation actuelle ne serait-elle pas le résultat de nos choix de vie?

Le phénomène s’est même aggravé dans certains pays. Au Brésil par exemple, où la déforestation avait pourtant connu une diminution spectaculaire jusqu’en 2012, grâce à une volonté politique (liée notamment à l’extension des zones protégées) et l’utilisation de l’imagerie satellite, elle est repartie de plus belle.

Au mois de juin 2019 une accélération importante de la déforestation de l’Amazonie a été signalé par l’Institut National de Recherche Spatiale du Brésil (INPE). En un mois, c’est 920 km2 de forêt tropicale qui ont disparu. Un recul qui n’augure rien de bon pour la biodiversité et les peuples autochtones précisément au moment où l’Union Européenne vient de signer un accord de libre échange avec le Mercosur (accord qualifié de « contradiction complète avec nos ambitions climatiques » par Nicolas Hulot).

What are the numbers?

Selon le rapport annuel de Global Forest Watch, le monde a perdu en 2018, 12 millions d’hectares de forêts tropicales, dont 3,64 millions de forêts tropicales primaires soit l’équivalent de la Belgique ! Il s’agit là de la quatrième plus mauvaise année en terme de déforestation de la forêt tropicale, après 2016, 2017 et 2014 depuis les premiers enregistrements réalisés en 2001.

Les pays les plus concernés par la déforestation sont Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - the three countries that concentrate almost 60% of the tropical forests of our planet - as well as Colombia and Bolivia. Some forests have long been spared because of civil wars that lasted several decades, as in Colombia, DRC or Myanmar (Burma), but with the end or slowing these conflicts, these forests are seen as so many new opportunities operating.

Caution in interpreting the figures! Vous avez peut-être entendu parler d’une augmentation de 88% de la déforestation au Brésil au moins de juin 2019 ou encore de 278% au mois de juillet 2019 dans la presse. Nous vous conseillons l’article de Mongabay qui vous explique en quoi l’interprétation de ces chiffres par les médias n’est pas exact et aide le président brésilien Bolsonaro à remettre en cause les institutions scientifiques.

Different causes by continent

According to the Report on the Global State Forestry published by FAO in 2016, near 80% of global deforestation is caused by agriculture (30-35% for subsistence agriculture and 45-50% for commercial or industrial agriculture) and 20% by infrastructure construction, mining and urbanization. But the causes of deforestation are radically different from one continent to another.

South America
If we look again for Brazil, the causes of deforestation in 2018 were to 65-70% the creation of pasture for livestock (Brazil exports many beef) and 25-30% for agriculture (Including export soybeans to China and Europe for their farms). Logging is only a small portion of deforestation.
Map of ecosystems subject to the risk of deforestation in South America

The situation is similar in other countries (Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, etc.) and does not concern the Amazon basin. Less known, the Gran Chaco and Closed are increasingly affected by deforestation.

The Gran ChacoStraddling several countries home the largest dry forest in Latin America and savannah and wetlands. The ClosedLocated mainly in Brazil, is a vast tropical savanna composed of many types of natural habitats - forestée savanna, moist savanna, gallery forests, etc. - and hosts a extremely rich and diverse biodiversity. These two environments less subject to political pressure that Amazon, experiencing unprecedented deforestation especially caused by Europe.

South East Asia
In Indonesia and Malaysia, engine deforestation is palm oil. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, it is the rubber plantations for rubber (tire manufacturing). Other amenities join: pepper Java for example.

Pepper plantation on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Africa
Unlike Asia or South America, Africa undergoes deforestation whose main causes are not linked to commercial agriculture. The majority of African deforestation is grown by small farmers who produce local subsistence agriculture. This is particularly the case in Madagascar, where deforestation is caused by the clearing of forest for slash and burn (tavy) Or for the production of charcoal for cooking.

But this is changing. For ten years, the forests of Central Africa and West Africa are seen as the 'El Dorado' of industrial agriculture, where virgin forests are replaced by plantations to meet demand commodities in the international market. The forests of the Congo, Cameroon and you Gabon are threatened by the expansion of palm oilAnd, in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, it is jusque dans les aires protégées que l’on déforeste pour le cacao d’exportation.

Bushfire in the Makay massif in Madagascar.

What prospects for the future?

Le futur s’annonce sombre pour les grandes forêts tropicales et leur biodiversité. Soumises à de nombreuses pressions anthropiques locales (déforestation pour expansion agricole, dégradation par l’exploitation forestière, braconnage), auxquelles s’ajoutent celle du changement climatique qui augmente les risques d’incendies et impose aux espèces un déplacement géographique rapide (300 mètres/an), il ne pourrait rester des grandes forêts tropicales que quelques fragments fortement dégradés à la fin du siècle.

Face à l’inaction des gouvernements for deforestation, it is urgent to act and how many are. One more you said in this article: How to act against deforestation?

Our Partners

This reforestation project is supported by MaltemInitial funding to the tune of € 10,000 was obtained from MaltemEnabling the launch of Village Forestry Project. Maltem is an ecosystem of specialized consulting companies in the digital transformation and sustainable innovation, and a partner of Naturevolution since 2016.

The entire series of articles

An article proposed by Gaëtan Deltour and Yann Bigant

Leave a comment

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Required fields are marked *

18 − cinq =