TORONTO, Jan. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - If the world's forests could talk, what would they say about their health in the 21st century?
They might point to Corporate Knights' first Country Canopy Index, which assesses forest loss and gain around the world and identifies the most impacted countries. The spirit of Dr. Seuss's much-loved Lorax lives on in this report, which was made possible by Global Forest Watch, an online tool launched last year by the World Resources Institute and partners including Google and the University of Maryland.
What this free, publicly accessible tool does is empower users to monitor tree loss around the world. Through a combination of satellite technology, mapping software, open data and crowdsourcing, anyone with an Internet connection can for the first time retrieve timely and reliable information about forests, no matter the location.
Corporate Knights used the tool to look at how the world's forests have done in the 21st century – specifically between 2000 and 2012. Countries were assessed across five key indicators: absolute trees loss, absolute tree gain, loss as a percentage of total forest coverage, loss per capita, and loss per billion dollars of GDP. The results from these indicators were used to calculate a final index score for the 12 countries assessed, which collectively represent about 65 per cent of the world's forests and 62 per cent of total observable tree loss this century.
View the results in the January 22 issue of Corporate Knights, or by visiting: www.corporateknights.com/channels/natural-capital/decline-of-forests-index/
Among the report's findings:
- The worst performer on the Index (combining the score from all five indicators) was Bolivia, which has overtaken Brazil as the biggest threat to the Amazon basin. Brazil, which in a positive development has slowed down its rate of deforestation, still experienced the greatest absolute forest loss this century.
- Canada had the greatest forest loss on a per capita basis, with each Canadian responsible for two-thirds of a hectare this century – twice as much as next-ranked Finland and eight times the United States.
- When looking at forest loss as a percentage of total cover, Malaysia's forests appear to be under the most stress. Its forest loss this century represented 22 per cent of the total forest cover it had in 2000.
- The country that was least economically productive with its forests was the Democratic Republic of Congo, which lost 72,000 hectares of forest this century for every $1 billion of GDP. Canada, by contrast, lost just 16,196 hectares per $1 billion of GDP, while the U.S. lost only 1,708 hectares by the same measure.
- Finally, the country with the most absolute forest gain this century was a bit of a surprise: Russia.
"When we talk of tree loss, we're not strictly talking deforestation. In the context of this report, 'loss' can include mechanical harvesting, but also loss due to forest fire, disease and storm damage," said Tyler Hamilton, report author and Editor-In-Chief of Corporate Knights.
"In other words, this is not an indictment of any country's logging industry. This report does, however, tell us a lot about the health of a country's forests and how the global canopy continues to be chipped away by commercial interest, the impacts of climate change, and random acts of nature."
Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is a Toronto-based media, research and financial products company focused on clean capitalism. Canada's "Magazine of the Year" in 2014, Corporate Knights is the premier publication focused on the intersection of business, economy and sustainability.
SOURCE Corporate Knights Inc.
Image with caption: "Report Cover (CNW Group/Corporate Knights Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150115_C4918_PHOTO_EN_10217.jpg
Image with caption: "Total Index (CNW Group/Corporate Knights Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150115_C4918_PHOTO_EN_10218.jpg
Image with caption: "Loss-Gain Per Capita Loss (CNW Group/Corporate Knights Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150115_C4918_PHOTO_EN_10219.jpg
Image with caption: "Loss per $1B GDP (CNW Group/Corporate Knights Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150115_C4918_PHOTO_EN_10220.jpg
Image with caption: "Loss as percentage of cover (CNW Group/Corporate Knights Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150115_C4918_PHOTO_EN_10221.jpg
For further information: Tyler Hamilton, Editor-In-Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org