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The actual causes of deforestation -- above all, the already unsustainable demand agricultural products in the North -- were considered a far lower priority in Doha than carbon market-related accounting. Nonetheless, some governments, especially those of the UK and Norway, paid at least lip service to them. A Synthesis Report (PDF) financed by those two governments was released at Doha.

The main conclusions of that report are as follows:

Proximate or direct drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are human activities and actions that directly impact forest cover and result in loss of carbon stocks. Agriculture is estimated to be the proximate driver for around 80% of deforestation worldwide. Commercial agriculture is the most important driver of deforestation in Latin America (around 2/3 of total deforested area). In Africa and (sub)tropical Asia it accounts for around 1/3 of deforestation and is of similar importance to subsistence agriculture. Mining, infrastructure and urban expansion are important but less prominent. Findings on global patterns of degradation indicate that (commercial) timber extraction and logging activities account for more than 70% of total degradation in Latin America and (sub)tropical Asia. Fuel wood collection, charcoal production, and, to a lesser extent, livestock grazing in forests are the most important drivers of degradation in large parts of Africa.

Is the Government of UK really reading those reports it has paid for?

A recent article posted at the new "Governmental Portal - GOV.UK" came up with following statement:

...Trade in illegal timber is a significant cause of deforestation. Our efforts to control illegal logging and encourage trade in legally harvested timber over the past 10 years have already helped to protect an estimated 17 million hectares of forest - an area equivalent to England and Wales in size...

This statement is referring to the same report we are referring to at our post above - interestingly the Government of UK did read out of this report something which is nowhere mentioned in that specific report.

The report clearly states "Agriculture is estimated to be the proximate driver for around 80% of deforestation worldwide" while the Government of UK states "Trade in illegal timber is a significant cause of deforestation".

UK government seems to struggle since years in understanding deforestation and illegal logging... the relationship between deforestation, logging and illegal logging is well known since years - however UK government and some UK politicians are still spreading misleading messages...


The real drivers of deforestation and forest degradation


Blog | by Dr. Radut