Deforestation could become a distant memory of our irresponsible past if the governments succeed in scaling up their efforts to preserve forests all across the globe, according to the recent Living Forests Report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
In order to contribute to the recovery of large surfaces covered by woodlands, developed nations have joined forces to create the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, also known as REDD+, reports Mongabay.com.
REDD+ represents one of the hottest topics taken into consideration by the representatives present at the 17th climate summit organized in Durban, South Africa.
At this point in time, it seems that 55.5 million hectares of woodland (214,286 square miles) are destined to be wiped off the face of the earth within a decade, but a proper conservation strategy correlated, with appropriate financial support, could put an end to this issue once and for all.
If knowledge is backed by financial support, deforestation processes could be stopped. This highly beneficial strategy comes with a considerable price tag wealthy nations will have to pay: up to $53 billion (€39.6 billion) every year.
Furthermore, even after deforestation will no longer represent a global issue, authorities will still have to deal with its share of harmful GHGs, though continued reforestation and plantations campaigns, developed until 2040.
Moreover, the initiative has to be implemented as quickly as possible, since any delay can translate into irreparable damages to ecosystems.
WWF officials forecast that if governments hesitate in adopting REDD+, a surface of the size of France would be compromised between 2020 and 2030.
The exact impact of this phenomenon on air quality appears difficult to measure, yet experts say deforestation associated with environmental degradation could be responsible for up to 10% of the overall amount of GHG currently emitted.
"[...] We must not let the opportunity that REDD+ presents slip through our fingers. If we get this right, we can safeguard our climate and help people overcome poverty. There is too much at stake to let these talks get mired down by technicalities," affirms Gerald Steindlegger, Policy Director of WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative, in a press release.