A new study has reported that the Amazon rainforest has lost an area the size of Spain in 18 years due to deforestation.
The tropical rainforest has lost an area of 513,016 square kilometres (198,077 square miles) between 2000 and 2018, according to the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG).
This represents eight percent of the surface area of the rainforest, which is shared between nine South American countries, most notably Brazil.
Mining, infrastructure projects, fires, logging, and soil carbon loss are believed to be the biggest threats to the Amazon, according to RAISG, which warns that some 33 percent of the rainforest is under “high” or “very high” risk.
The report states: “Although 2003 remains the worst year for the Amazon rainforest since 2000, with a total loss of 49,240 square kilometres (19,012 square miles), deforestation has accelerated since 2012 and the area lost each year has tripled between 2015 and 2018.”
Deforestation of the Amazon is currently on the increase in Brazil, Bolivia, and Colombia.
The report states: “In 2018 alone, 31,269 square kilometres (12,073 square miles) were deforested across the Amazon.”
Brazil, which is home to 62 percent of the forest, is where the majority of deforestation, some 425,051 square kilometres (164,113 square miles), has occurred.
Brazil is home to most of the illegal mining sites in the Amazon, followed by Venezuela, which is home to just 5.6 percent of the forest.
The report states: “On average, since 2001, 169,000 square kilometres (65,251 square miles) of the Amazon have been burned every year.”
Bolivia’s portion of the Amazon has been proportionally the most affected, with 27 percent of the country’s forest area lost to fires.
The report concludes that the countries that house the Amazon must work together to combat the multiple threats the rainforest faces.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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