Some good news about rainforests for a change!
The rate of destruction of the world's three largest forests fell 25 percent this decade compared with the previous one, but remains alarmingly high in some countries, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.
A report entitled The State of the Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and South East Asia, was released to coincide with a summit in the Congo Republic bringing together delegates from 35 countries occupying those forests, with a view to reaching a global deal on management and conservation.
The Amazon and the Congo are the world's first and second biggest forests, respectively, and its third biggest -- the Borneo Mekong -- is in Indonesia.
They sink billions of tonnes of carbon and house two thirds of the world's remaining land species between them.
The study found that annual rate of deforestation across the three regions, which account for more than 80 percent of the world's tropical forests, was 5.4 million hectares between 2000 and 2010, down a quarter from 7.1 million hectares in the previous decade.
Statistics showed that forest destruction in the Congo basin had remained stable but low over the last 20 years, while in South East Asia the rate of deforestation more than halved.
Countries which had previously had high levels of forest loss, such as Brazil and Indonesia, have had some success tackling the problem through better conservation awareness and government policy said the report's author, Mette Wilkie.
But she suggested this was no cause for complacency, especially of the threat from farming.
"Deforestation is higher than it ought to be," Wilkie told Reuters. "The Amazon basin has large scale land conversion for farming and crops, Congo has small scale conversion, mainly for subsistence farming, while South East Asia is a mixture."
Photo shows an aerial view of a natural lake fed by a spring in the Amazon River basin near Manaus, September 30, 2010. Credit: Reuters/Ivan Canabrava