A new study, Greenhouse gas emissions from tropical forest degradation: an underestimated source, published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management, shows that in 74 tropical countries the amount of carbon released as a result of forest degradation is equivalent to 4.3 percent of total global emissions and almost five times greater than the emissions from global aviation. Forest degradation occurs where humans directly interact with forests for resources, lives and livelihoods.
The findings show that emissions from tropical forest degradation exceed the total annual emissions of all but the seven highest emitting countries — and are equal to about a third of the emissions from deforestation. The study also highlights an important opportunity to mitigate climate change, which can benefit the poorest populations and most highly endangered ecosystems.
The findings demonstrate the large role forest degradation plays in global land use emissions, with the total emissions from degradation comprising 25 percent of the combined emissions from degradation and deforestation. Among the forest degradation activities assessed, timber harvesting had the largest impact (53 percent), followed by wood fuel (30 percent) and fire (17 percent). Regional patterns also emerged, with emissions from wood fuel having the largest impact in East Africa, South Asia and Indonesia; the magnitude of timber harvesting emissions highest in Brazil and Indonesia; and emissions from fire most notable in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and parts of the Brazilian Amazon.
Read the full study here or download the .pdf below.