Half of tropical forestland cleared for agriculture isn’t put to use, research shows- Agriculture is the primary driver of tropical deforestat...Half of tropical forestland cleared for agriculture isn’t put to use, research shows
- Agriculture is the primary driver of tropical deforestation, accounting for 90% or more of forest loss, yet researchers have found that only about half of total land cleared is put into active agricultural production.
- The gap between what’s cleared and what’s used for agriculture shows that “we have to fix agriculture and we have to fix deforestation,” according to one of the researchers.
- Tropical deforestation is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, but the research shows there is no simple fix, as humanity’s increasing food needs coincide with the need for conservation.
Agriculture is gradually killing forests, and yet up to half of tropical forestland in Africa, Latin America and Asia cleared for agriculture remains idle, according to research published in the journal Science. The literature review, which analyzes a range of pantropical studies of deforestation, estimates that between 6.4 million and 8.8 million hectares (15.8 million and 21.7 million acres) of tropical forests are lost to agriculture annually. For perspective, on the low end, this is the equivalent of more than 8 million soccer fields, or more than three times the size of Rwanda.