With the rise in urbanization and industrialization, there is elevated haphazard cutting down trees at an alarming rate.

The forest has been degraded and cleared out massively in the African countries, which led to the heavy loss of the forest cover. 

There could be a challenge in conserving biodiversity when extensive deforestation occurs in every country at an unprecedented rate. 

Recently, numerous countries have faced the highest rate of deforestation issues, as mentioned below:

deforestation_issues_in_2020_2021

1. Ghana

In the past, there were roughly two-thirds of the forest in Ghana. Recently, the country has faced below 10% of the forest. 

The forest canopy and the coverage have been reduced drastically. The forest declination rate has declined to 28% since 1990.

There is a lack of forestry management plans in Ghana. It has highly contributed to the decline of forest coverage.

1.7 Mha forest land of Ghana has been burnt in the year 2021. Since cocoa farming in Ghana is inferred as the vital cause that has caused the significant deforestation issues, compared to other nations, rainforest loss is continuously occurring in Ghana.

Since long back, Ghana has been exporting timber throughout the globe, but with the shrinkage of the forest area, the timber exporting process was too highly affected.

Charcoal production and livestock grazing have enhanced the rise in deforestation activities in Ghana. 

For charcoal production, it’s pretty much apparent that many of the forests have been felled down unexpectedly. 

It enhances the profitable action to the commercial loggers but ruins the forest environment side by side. 

At an astonishing rate in Ghana, forest clearing does not lead to obstacles in biodiversity conservation; instead, it could be a barrier in tackling climate change-induced effects.

2. Indonesia

At one time, Indonesia was so rich in a forest used to cover just like the South Asian countries. 

Since Indonesia contributes the world’s third-largest tropical rainforest, it’s very ironic to depict that the country presently harbors only 65 % of the forest. 

In the last 20 years, the rate of deforestation has occurred massively in Indonesia. Between 1985 and 2000, deforestation increased massively to almost cover Africa and South America.

It critically indicates how Indonesia is suffering from deforestation issues. Compared to other countries, the African and Asian countries have been suffering a lot from deforestation issues. 

Even at the Conference of Parties (COP 26), multiple countries have committed to halting deforestation to a lower scale by 2030, including Indonesia.

The country’s major deforestation issues being visualized are unsustainable harvesting and illegal logging. 

Once the trees are cut down rapidly for logging, undoubtedly, it could decline the forest trees within a short period.

Though the country had promised to halt deforestation by 2030, it denies its commitment, revealing that the Conference of Parties (COP 26) is very unfair and that deforestation at zero rates is impossible for them.

It could sum up the more challenging issues in forest protection if not implemented well according to their set plans and targets. 

In the year 2020, it lost approximately 230 million hectares. There is heavy primary natural forest loss in Indonesia.

3. Nepal

Deforestation_of_nepal
Cut down remains of tree in Nepal| Picture Credit: Kathmandu Post

Presently, 37 % of Nepal’s area is covered by forest. Nepal has been enlisted in the top position in recent days concerning the deforestation issues. 

The practice of slash and burn cultivation, wildfire, overharvesting of the forest products such as medicinal herbs and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are causing deforestation issues recently in Nepal. 

Despite banning commercial logging in Nepal, illegal timber logging is still practiced. An increase in unplanned developmental activities such as irrigation canals, dam building, and road construction has created deforestation.

It has been revealed that 8.1 % of the tree loss has occurred from the year 2002 to the year 2020. 

Additionally, 11 % of the forest lost the tree cover from 2001 to 2019 due to deforestation as a significant cause.

In Nepal, deforestation has been forwarded as challenging in the name of the physical infrastructures such as roads, canals, and airports. 

Project authorities cleared a considerable number of the forest once the proposal of the Nijgadh Airport in the Bara district of Nepal was launched. The case became so severe that it was filed in the Supreme court. 

For the development of the Nijgadh Airport, roughly 2.4 million trees are estimated to be chopped up according to the government studied Environment Impact Assessment.

Development is always substantial, but the development carried without thinking of the forest cover does not last long.

This case makes us realize how developmental activities promote the deforestation issues in Nepal since the same forest harbors habitat for the hundreds of tigers, elephants, rhinos, bison, and bird species.

In Nepal, due to illiteracy, the forest trees have been randomly cleared. To sustain the people’s livelihood, they clear down the forest.

Still, it’s very problematic to depict that they do not know how to conserve the forest for themselves and their future generations.

For the short-term merits, illegal export of medicinal plants and the forest-products for domestic use or the foreign markets contribute highly to Nepal’s deforestation. 

The saying goes, “Green forest wealth of Nepal” in the past, it limited only to the history of the paper; instead of the action.

The study findings reflected that around 85 % of the Nepalese people rely on forest fuelwood to sustain their livelihood. Implementing alternative energy sources, too, has enhanced deforestation.

Besides these, lacking the afforestation programs at a massive scale, setting the laws and regulations and its strict implementation, long-term grazing of the forest’s grassland by the domestic animals, Nepal’s forest has been degraded day by day.

4. Nigeria

In the case of the primary forest, Nigeria has been considered the leader in the world’s highest deforestation rate. 

The crucial cause of the highest deforestation in Nigeria entails subsistence agriculture, logging, and fuelwood collection at a massive scale. 

Since most deforestation has occurred in African countries, Nigeria is not an exception.

Undoubtedly, heavy loss of the primary forest in the country could be a challenging part of forest conservation-oriented actions and fulfilling the sustainable development goals concerning the biodiversity sector.

Almost in all African and Asian countries, the primary cause of deforestation is anthropogenic-induced activities, including slash and burn cultivation and illegal logging. 

The interventions resulted as an outcome of developing the physical infrastructures and much more.

Although there have been massive deforestation issues in both the African and Asian countries recently, the world is suffering from deforestation in African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, and many more.

5. The Philippines

The future of the Philippines forest is very pitiful to visualize. Presently, only 35 % of the forest has remained out of total. 

Despite the more extensive frontier forest, the Philippines has been facing a severe issue in the chopping of the trees.

The forest study stressed that it had lost 72 % of the tree cover in the natural primary forest from 2013 to 2020. 

The fundamental cause of this massive loss in the forest cover is detected as deforestation.

In Palawan, the fifth-largest island of the country, the tree cover loss was recorded highest from 2002 to 2020, thereby contributing roughly 14 % of the tree cover loss (163,000 hectares) within that specific year.

The study detected more than 31,000 deforestation alerts in August 2021. Around 939 hectares of the primary forest were visualized affected by the deforestation within the four weeks. 

This data was extracted using the Landsat images to detect the disturbance caused to the primary forest in the Philippines.

The conversion of the land to agriculture and illegal logging has contributed significantly to leading the Philippines’ deforestation rate. 

When the land cover is altered over time, it might not be suitable for the land to be used for another purpose. It, too, maybe the excellent reason behind degrading the land for another purpose.

Since more prominent commercial industries and factories in most countries require timber as a primary raw material, there seems to be an extensive clearing of the forest and chopping them for industrial purposes.

Additionally, in the Philippines, the climate change-induced outcomes have also contributed vitally to the rising deforestation issues in the frontier forest. 

Scientists from their study believe that the continuous ranging shift of the species and the deforestation at the current rate could reduce the land area used for other purposes.

It is evident that when deforestation occurs massively in the Philippines, the terrifying effects entailing water resources scarcity, forest greenery, wildlife habitat fragmentation would be visualized that could be the barrier in the forest conservation approach in the additional days.

6. North Korea

North Korea is heading towards advancement in technology and the success of the scientific era throughout the world. 

It’s troubling to hear that North Korea has been one of the nations facing deforestation issues for a long time; around 61 % of the forest has been cleared randomly in North Korea.

The research detected that the significant factors responsible for deforestation in North Korea entail climate change, devoid of the forestry management approaches. 

Apart from these, the financial crisis has also accounted for the country’s deforestation.

In the hope of achieving an enormous amount of money by illegal timber logging, the people are motivated to destroy the forest randomly without thinking of its negative consequences in the coming days. 

To some extent, poverty could be considered a vital contributor to deforestation in North Korea. The frequent natural disasters have added to the forest clearing in North Korea.

7. Brazil

Amazon Deforestation from 2004 - 2020
Amazon Deforestation from 2004 – 2020| Graph Credit: BBC

Regarding the primary forest loss in 2021, Brazil enlists in the number one position. Brazil accounts for 60 % of the Amazon rainforest, absorbing a large amount of carbon dioxide. 

Currently, there is excessive illegal logging in Brazil. The rate of deforestation has increased by 22 %, and it is not a tiny percentage.

It signifies how deforestation has been a challenging part of forest conservation in Brazil. 

Although there is no exact data available, the studies depicted that roughly 94 % of deforestation could be in Brazil.

The forest lost over 5100 square miles of rainforest between August 2020 to July 2021. Due to the forest fire and clear-cutting, Brazil has faced a lot in conserving the forest. 

Since the Brazilian rainforest induced forest fires several times, ironically, it damaged the humid tropical forest ecosystem.

In Brazil, deforestation has always been a dire issue for forest preservation and environmental conservation for a prolonged period. 

Since deforestation is familiar in the Brazilian Amazon forest, the trees fell unsustainably for palm oil extraction and the commercial industry.

The more significant commercial industry illegally cut down the crucial trees, which gains them the raw materials for palm oil extraction. 

More troublingly, the more prominent exporter and the commercial sectors visualize the profits obtained from palm oil, which are the source of the deforested forest.

Since cutting down the trees is always shared in Brazil, it could lead to the naked forest, which ruins the greenery and beauty of the forest. 

The forest research lamented that several countries would face deforestation issues in 2021. 

These countries include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Cameroon, Laos, Mexico, and Malaysia.

Conclusion

Since long back, the deforestation issue has emerged throughout the globe. Even most developed countries have become victims of deforestation in their countries. 

The significant causes of deforestation seem to be illegal logging, mass illiteracy, dependency of the people in the forest for the forest products such as fuelwood, haphazard extraction of the timber and medicinal herbs, lacking strict implementation of the laws, and climate change.

Basically, rather than the Asian countries, the African countries have been the severe victims of the massive deforestation on a larger scale.

Promoting the afforestation programs at a larger scale, implementing strict laws, and approaching the eco-friendly recycling concept could undoubtedly halt deforestation.

(Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Kalpana Ghimire holds a post-graduate degree in Environmental Science from Nepal. She possesses numerous research experiences working in water pollution, community forestry, environment conservation status, and wildlife ecology. She was an internee in the Department of Environment (EIA monitoring and auditing section) under the Government of Nepal. Kalpana Ghimire is an avid traveler, an enthusiastic wildlife researcher, and has a huge passion for working in the environment sector. She loves far traveling to the natural areas, conducting field wildlife research and reading the novels.