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Deforestation

Demand For Food and Fuel Destroys Forests

Wednesday, January 07, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: deforestation, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) Rising demand for food, biofuel and wood will soon require more arable land than is available without destroying the world's last tropical forests, according to a report issued by the Rights and Resources Initiative.

"Arguably, we are on the verge of a last great global land grab," co-author Andy White said. "It will mean more deforestation, more conflict, more carbon emissions, more climate change and less prosperity for everyone."

Only about 200 million hectares (500 million acres) of unused arable land are currently available outside of tropical forests. But the report predicts that by the year 2030, 515 million hectares of new land will be required, due to rising demand for wood, biofuels and food.

Exacerbating the problem, crop yields have been dropping in many regions around the world. Yields are expected to keep falling as global warming further upsets local climates.

"If the current plateau in productivity continues," the report reads, "the amount of additional agricultural land required just to meet the world's projected food demand in 2050 would be about three billion hectares, nearly all of which would be required in developing countries."

The United Nations estimates that there are only 1.4 billion hectares of arable land and 3.4 billion hectares of pasture on the planet.

The report's authors express concern that rising pressure for land will accelerate the destruction of tropical forests, exacerbating local health and nutritional problems, extinction, and global warming.

Deforestation is currently responsible for approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The report emphasizes that land ownership reform must be enacted around the world in order to avoid wide scale tropical forest destruction.

"These new studies should strengthen global resolve to protect the property rights of indigenous and local communities who play a vital role in protecting one the most outstanding natural wonders of the world," said Gareth Thomas, minister of the United Kingdom's UK's Department of International Development.

Sources for this story include: news.bbc.co.uk.

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