The United Nations said its 2030 sustainable development goals would not be met if the destruction of forests throughout Asia continued unabated.
The organization reports that there has been a total disregard for the value that forests add, adding that millions of hectares were being lost every single year.
“While forests are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they continue to be degraded and lost at a rate of 3.3-million hectares per year,” said Senior Forestry Officer Patrick Durst.
“In this region, forests continue to be converted to agriculture, destroyed and replaced by man-made infrastructure, housing, mining, and other land uses. Forest fires also continue to pose a threat to the region,” added Durst.
The big question now, centres around what needs to be done to remedy what is becoming an exceedingly devastating problem.
Nina Brandstrup, a FAO Representative in Sri Lanka, said that in most cases, people’s livelihoods depended on the sustainability of forests on that continent.
“Globally, 1.3-billion people, mostly in developing countries, are estimated to be ‘forest peoples,’ who depend on forests for their livelihoods and income. Twenty-eight per cent of the total income of households living in or near forests come from forest and environmental income. Ending poverty would need to take the health of our forests into account and engage those ‘forest peoples’ directly,” said Brandstrup.