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Worldwatch Institute: September 13, 2006

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Vital Signs Online: Wood Production and Deforestation Increase

pesticide exports Global roundwood production reached a new peak of 3,402 million cubic meters in 2004, the last year for which data are available. Just five countries—the United States, India, China, Brazil, and Canada — produced 44 percent of the global roundwood harvest.

Meanwhile, global forested area contracted by some 36.6 million hectares, or just under 1 percent, between 2000 and 2005, a continuation of the decades-long trend of forest loss in much of the world, according to the 2005 Global Forest Resource Assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The largest losses were in Africa, which shed 3.2 percent of its forested area between 2000 and 2005, and South America, which lost 2.5 percent. Eight nations in Africa registered losses of more than 10 percent over the five year period, a rate of contraction that would eliminate their forests within a few decades if unchecked. In South America, every country except Ecuador lost forested area in the past half decade. Brazil, home to the Amazon forest, lost 3.2 percent of its total area, an acceleration of deforestation since the 1990s.

Purchase Vital Signs 2006-2007 in Hard Copy or PDF format, and visit Vital Signs Online for a wide selection of trends data and analysis, including:
- Roundwood Production Hits a New Peak
- Deforestation Continues

Related Link:
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Forestry Department

Recent Content from Worldwatch

U.S. Organic Farmers Feeling the Squeeze at Both Ends
rainforestEven as organic food sales continue to rise in the United States, organic farmers nationwide face a potential decline in profits. Recent reports have brought public attention to the meager wages and poor living conditions of workers on many organic farms, leading to calls for farmers to improve salaries and benefits.

Invasive Snail, Other Species Threaten China's Eco-Security
China Watch Over the past three months, the Amazonian Snail, also known as the golden apple snail, has wreaked havoc on public health and agricultural land in China. Since June, the city of Beijing has reported 131 cases of people infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis, a lungworm parasite carried by the mollusk, which is native to South America.

Hydrogen: Fuel for Our Future?
green campusOn July 18, BP and GE announced plans to jointly develop up to 15 new hydrogen power plants for generating electricity over the coming decade. The hydrogen will be derived from fossil fuels, including coal and natural gas. While the plants will emit greenhouse gases, the companies will employ carbon capture technologies they claim will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 90 percent.

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