Loss of Biodiversity Over Time

Goals

To gather data on environmental and species loss over the last 100 years.

Early Findings

  • As per the World Resources Institute, the University of Maryland released updated data on the disappearance of rainforests throughout the world.
  • The change in forests and tree cover loss can be seen in an interactive map here.
  • The data is being recorded since 2001, so older data may not be available. As per the data, 2016 and 2017 were the worst in terms of loss of primary rainforests due to fires.
  • 2018 demonstrated the fourth-highest annual loss since record-keeping started, including 12 million hectares of tree cover and the disappearance of 3.6 million hectares of primary rainforests.
  • Primary tropical rainforests are made up of "trees that can be hundreds or even thousands of years old." These rainforests play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity.
  • Not to mention, these rainforests provide habitat for numerous animal species, which may not be able to survive without them.
  • Many countries are working toward preventing loss of primary rainforests. "In 2002, just two countries — Brazil and Indonesia — made up 71 percent of tropical primary forest loss. More recent data shows that [...] Brazil and Indonesia only accounted for 46 percent of primary rainforest loss in 2018, while countries like Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Democratic Republic of the Congo saw loss rates rise considerably."

Proposed next steps:

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