These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

trees 19_

(Madison Nickel, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Katharine Rooney, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Across the globe, there are deep pockets of green working as powerful lungs for all of us.

Forests cover a third of the world’s land. They play a critical role in the ongoing battle against the impacts of climate change. They absorb harmful pollutants, regulate water flows, and support the habitats of migratory plants and animals.

But they are under threat. Since 1990, the planet has lost 1.3 million square kilometres of tree cover – an area larger than South Africa – to deforestation for forest and paper products and agriculture, according to the World Bank.

When trees are destroyed, greenhouse gases pour into the atmosphere. In the Amazon, recent fires have released 228 megatonnes of carbon dioxide. Swathes of the rainforest are burning in Brazil, which has recorded the highest number of August fires since 2010.

What is the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact summit?

It’s an annual meeting featuring top examples of public-private cooperation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies being used to develop the sustainable development agenda.

It runs alongside the United Nations General Assembly, which this year features a one-day climate summit. This is timely given rising public fears – and citizen action – over weather conditions, pollution, ocean health and dwindling wildlife. It also reflects the understanding of the growing business case for action.

The UN’s Strategic Development Goals and the Paris Agreement provide the architecture for resolving many of these challenges. But to achieve this, we need to change the patterns of production, operation and consumption.

The World Economic Forum’s work is key, with the summit offering the opportunity to debate, discuss and engage on these issues at a global policy level.

Protecting this essential resource and avoiding further deforestation could cut CO2 emissions by as much as 4 billion tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking half the world’s cars off the road, according to the Tropical Forest Alliance, an initiative hosted by the World Economic Forum that works with governments and businesses to tackle the problem.

In each of the world’s top 10 tree-covered countries, forests make up a huge percentage of the land area – from just under three-quarters in Papua New Guinea to more than 98% in South America’s Suriname.

Here’s how the three nations with the world’s densest tree cover are working to preserve one of the planet’s most valuable resources.

Image: World Economic Forum

Suriname: eco-tourism

More than 98% of this former Dutch colony on the northeast coast of South America is carpeted in tropical rainforest -– an extraordinary, lush landscape that’s a magnet for intrepid travellers, but one that needs careful management to offset the potential impact of activities like gold mining and logging.

Excess deforestation could damage the country’s delicate ecosystems and disrupt food supplies for indigenous communities.

As part of a long-term strategy for sustainable tourism, the government of Suriname has been working with NGOs and local communities to protect its pristine rainforests and freshwater resources, through initiatives like the South Suriname Conservation Corridor.

Since the creation of the 1.6 million-hectare Central Suriname Nature Reserve, which was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, eco-tourism has become the third-largest foreign income exchange earner in the country.

Suriname is the most forested country in the world

Suriname is the most forested country in the world.
Image: David Evers

Micronesia: sustainable agriculture

Dotted across 1.6 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is made up of over 600 islands, divided between four states – Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei.

Nearly 92% of the islands are forested – in part due to the work of organizations like The Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), which promotes sustainable development based on community-led resource management.

CSP ran an educational campaign in Pohnpei, called “Grow Low”, to raise awareness about the dangers of deforestation in upland watershed areas, which farmers were stripping out and seeding to meet intense demand for kava – a popular drink with sedative properties.

Farmers have been taught more effective techniques for growing their crops in the lowlands and given seedlings to start their new farms – leading to a 70% reduction in new upland kava clearings.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Halting deforestation is essential to avoiding the worst effects of global climate change.

The destruction of forests creates almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel, and yet it continues at an alarming rate.

In 2012, we brought together more than 150 partners working in Latin America, West Africa, Central Africa and South-East Asia – to establish the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020: a global public-private partnership to facilitate investment in systemic change.

The Alliance, made up of businesses, governments, civil society, indigenous people, communities and international organizations, helps producers, traders and buyers of commodities often blamed for causing deforestation to achieve deforestation-free supply chains.

The Commodities and Forests Agenda 2020, summarizes the areas in which the most urgent action is needed to eliminate deforestation from global agricultural supply chains.

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is gaining ground on tackling deforestation linked to the production of four commodities: palm oil, beef, soy, and pulp and paper.

Get in touch to join our mission to halt to deforestation.

Gabon: saving the forest elephant

The world’s largest concentration of forest elephants live in the central African nation of Gabon – 90% of which is tree-covered.

Until recently, the animals were under existential threat from poachers, with more than 25,000 elephants in Minkébé National Park thought to have been killed for their ivory between 2004 and 2014.

It’s not just the elephants at risk – it’s also the forest, according to John Poulsen, assistant professor of tropical ecology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who describes the animals as “ecological engineers”, dispersing tree seeds over wide distances and opening up the understory of the forest by eating or trampling on slow-growing plants.

Gabon is now taking decisive action: in June, President Ali Bongo Ondimba appointed a new Minister of Forests, biologist Lee White, whose pledge to stamp out poaching is helping to protect both the elephants and Gabon’s national parks for the benefit of future generations.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

Drought in Europe: Commission presents additional measures to support farmers

Monday’s Daily Brief: Nigeria massacre, Libya shelling condemned; recycled plastic used to build classrooms in Côte d’Ivoire

Fail fast, fail better: 3 ways companies can master innovation

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

If people aren’t responding to climate warnings, we need to change the message

How India’s globalized cities will change its future

We are close yet so far…

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

Why the ECB suddenly decided to flood banks with money?

UN rights chief calls for international inquiry into Kashmir violations

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

4 crazy things that are happening in the Arctic right now

European Business Summit 15th year: Controversy and Constructive Ideas

Anti-vaccination scaremongering: What should we know about anti-vaccine argument?

Migration crisis will keep deteriorating as common EU political will is simply not there

The dangers of data: why the numbers never tell the full story

My disability, my identity

EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels

UN chief calls for ‘increased commitment’ to resolution on 10th anniversary of Georgia conflict

The banks first to benefit from the new euro trillion ECB plans to print

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica: MEPs pursue personal data breaches probe

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson: who forced the two ‘brave’ Brexiteers to quit?

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

No recovery for EU economy in sight and a Brexit can aggravate things for everyone

Want a sustainable business? Hire in talent

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

EU finally agreed to cut roaming charges in 2017 but criticism is always there

Trade is not a weapon. Let’s not use it as one

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

Israel @ MWC14: Israel The Start App Nation

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Greenhouse gas emissions have already peaked in 30 major cities

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

German elections: Is Merkel losing ground or Shultz is winning?

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

EU to take action against fake news and foreign electoral interference

DR Congo: Following second brutal assault on Ebola clinic, UN health chief vows to continue serving ‘most vulnerable’

Protecting the Treaties in the interest of all Europeans: the College takes solemn oath to serve the EU

FROM THE FIELD: Restoring life to Ghana’s land

EU and U.S. castigate Facebook on Cambridge Analytica scandal as citizens’ data privacy goes down the drain again

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

OECD Secretary-General statement on Europe Day

How to build a fairer gig economy in 4 steps

Monday’s Daily Brief: the future of food and digital tech, labour justice in focus, denuclearization, and Kosovo

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

Amid Venezuela exodus, UN refugee envoy Angelina Jolie visits camps on Colombian border, appeals for humanity, more support

Cédric in India

State aid: Commission approves €300 million public support for the development of ultrafast broadband network in Greece

More Stings?

Comments

  1. This issue is complicated. Who is more important, feeding the planet’s population or falling prey to scare tactics of various agenda driven interest groups who are only looking after their own interests, with the patina of moral superiority??
    https://e360.yale.edu/features/conflicting-data-how-fast-is-the-worlds-losing-its-forests

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s