Tropical forests see high loss of tree cover for 2nd year

June 27, 2018 - 3:00 am

SAO PAULO (AP) — New satellite data say Colombia saw a dramatic increase in forest degradation last year and levels in Brazil remain historically high.

The data released Wednesday by the University of Maryland show tropical forests around the globe lost 15.8 million hectares (39 million acres) of tree cover in 2017 — an area the size of Bangladesh. That makes 2017 the second-worst year on record, after 2016, since researchers began gathering the data in 2001.

Losses in Brazil, home to most of the Amazon rainforest, made up nearly 30 percent of the total — more than losses in any other country.

While Colombia's losses were a much smaller proportion of the total, the South American country experienced a worrying jump: Tree cover loss rose 46 percent in 2017 from the previous year.

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