An article in The Guardian.
Asia-Pacific nations are failing to halt the loss of natural forests and grasslands, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday, robbing people of their livelihoods and worsening environmental problems like desertification and climate change.
Forests and grasslands make up 58% of the region’s land mass, but each year 2 million hectares (20,000 square kms) are degraded and rendered useless, Patrick Durst, a FAO senior forestry officer told a food conference in Ulan Bator.
Across the Asia-Pacific, 400 million hectares (4 mln sq kms) – an area equal to the combined size of India and Burma – are now in bad need of restoration, he said.
“We are already seeing strong negative impacts,” Durst told Reuters at the conference.
In China and Mongolia, over-grazing and poor land management mean herders increasingly have to give up feeding their livestocks and instead look for new jobs in fast-growing cities. Lost grassland boosts desertification and helps cause massive sand storms that sometimes carry as far as eastern Canada.
Meanwhile, illegal logging, farmland expansion and urbanisation drive deforestation across the region, especially in Southeast Asia.
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