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FAO/ITTO Report: Deforestation Rates in Rainforest Basins “Alarming”

1 June 2011: A report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) indicates that deforestation rates continue to be "alarming" in most of the 30 countries in the Amazon, Congo and Southeast Asian rainforest basins.

The report, titled "The State of Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia," was prepared for the Summit of the Rainforest Basins, taking place from 31 May-3 June 2011, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. It states that the net loss of forest area in the rainforest basins has decreased from 7.1 million hectares from 1990-2000 to 5.4 million hectares from 2000-2010. The Amazon Basin suffered the most deforestation, followed by Southeast Asia. Of the forests in these regions, just over 1% is certified, 3.5% is managed sustainably, and less than 15% is covered by a management plan. The report estimates that the total carbon stock in forests decreased by 1.2 gigatons annually from 2000-2010.

In the report, the FAO and ITTO stress that the potential value of the many goods and services provided by rainforests clearly outweigh benefits that can be obtained from almost any alternative land use. [FAO Press Release] [Publication: The State of Forests in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and Southeast Asia]