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Despite all the dire warnings, corporate pledges, and tree-planting promises, forests keep falling at an alarming pace. In a report out Wednesday morning, experts tallied up all the acres of the most important forests lost in 2020 and found that it amounts to an area the size of the Netherlands.

“Those dense forests can be hundreds of years old and store significant amounts of carbon. Losing them has irreversible impacts on biodiversity and climate change,” said Rod Taylor, director of the forest program at the nonprofit World Resources Institute, which produced the report with Global Forest Watch. The two organizations have been monitoring the world’s forests for 20 years with satellite images.

These tropical old-growth forests that WRI focused on don’t go through regular cycles of harvesting and regeneration, like those managed by timber companies. In a better world, the 4.2 million hectares of primary tropical forest that fell this year would have remained standing forever. Levelling them resulted in the release of some 2.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide, according to the report, equivalent to twice the annual emissions from automobiles in the United Sta... Read more

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