Asia-Pacific forest, grassland destruction continues to climb: FAO

Forest and Grassland Destruction

Reuters:  Asia-Pacific nations are failing to halt the loss of natural forests and grasslands, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Tuesday, robbing people of their livelihoods and worsening environmental problems like desertification and climate change.

Forests and grasslands make up 58 percent of the region’s land mass, but each year 2 million hectares (20,000 square kms) are degraded and rendered useless, Patrick Durst, a FAO senior forestry officer told a food conference in Ulan Bator.

Across the Asia-Pacific, 400 million hectares (4 mln sq kms) – an area equal to the combined size of India and Myanmar – are now in bad need of restoration, he said.

“We are already seeing strong negative impacts,” Durst told Reuters at the conference.

Similar deterioration is occurring in arid lands worldwide.  Much of the destruction occurs at or just beneath soil surfaces impacted by livestock grazing.

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