‘Death by a thousand cuts’: vast expanse of rainforest lost in 2018 | Environment | The Guardian
Pristine forests are vital for climate and wildlife but trend of losses is rising, data shows
Damian Carrington Environment editor
Thu 25 Apr 2019 05.01 BST
Last modified on Thu 25 Apr 2019 08.36 BST
The Bom Futuro tin mine in a deforested section of the Amazon in Brazil
The Bom Futuro tin mine in a deforested section of the Amazon in Brazil. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2018, according to satellite analysis, with beef, chocolate and palm oil among the main causes.
The forests store huge amounts of carbon and are teeming with wildlife, making their protection critical to stopping runaway climate change and halting a sixth mass extinction. But deforestation is still on an upward trend, the researchers said. Although 2018 losses were lower than in 2016 and 2017, when dry conditions led to large fires, last year was the next worst since 2002, when such records began.