No Convincing Evidence For Decline In Tropical Forrests

According to a study to be published today in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences by Dr Alan Grainger, Senior Lecturer in Geography and one of the world's leading experts on tropical deforestation, there is no convincing evidence for decline in tropical forests.  Using the latest satellite data to survey the forests in 63 countries, Dr. Grainger found 1,181 million hectares of tropical forests, compared to an estimated 1,081 million hectares for the same 63 countries in 1980.

[T]he lack of apparent decline in tropical moist forest area suggests that deforestation is being offset by natural reforestation at a higher rate than previously thought. Dr Grainger uses data from FAO’s latest report, published in 2006, to show that in a few countries, such as Gambia and Vietnam, forest area has actually expanded since 1990, as the reforestation rate has exceeded the deforestation rate. He believes that a rise in natural reforestation is a logical precursor to this switch from net deforestation to net reforestation. It has already been the subject of studies in Brazil, Ecuador and India, but available data are too poor for us to be sure of its exact scale worldwide.
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