INDEX / REPORTS
On the first day of the World Forestry Congress-2022, ‘The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) - 2022’ was released. It is a flagship publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the report will be published every two years. On this occasion, three pathways were also presented for achieving green recovery and tackling environmental crises.
The report presents an analysis of the interaction between forests and people, with a focus on a specific pertinent topic. It explains the importance of forests to the global economy and biodiversity. The report is regarded as one of the most important stocktakes on forest ecosystems.
Because of deforestation, the 420 million hectares of forests have been lost between 1990 and 2020, though forests cover 4.06 billion hectares (31%) of the earth’s geographical area. Even though the rate of deforestation was declining, 10 mha of forests were lost every year between 2015 and 2020. The report mentions that the forest biodiversity remains under threat from deforestation and forest degradation.
The loss in forest area poses severe risks for the 68% of mammal species, 75% of bird species, and 80% of amphibian species that inhabit forests.
To tackle the problems based on deforestation and to address the “underlying drivers of disease emergence”, responsible land-use planning is needed.
The report also warns that, if the people of India and China keep on increasing the pressure on forests, then these two countries will emerge as the biggest hotspots for new zoonotic viral diseases over the next few decades.
The estimated cost of global strategies to prevent pandemics based on reducing the illegal wildlife trade, avoiding land-use change and increasing surveillance to be $22 billion to $31 billion.