Jul 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:17 AM EDT

Forest Degradation Worsens In Tropical Countries In Asia, Africa And South America

Mar 02, 2017 01:13 AM EST

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 An aerial view of land cleared on a vast pulpwood concession in Merang during an aerial tour of the Sumatran forest taken by Greenpeace and South Sumatra Governor, Alex Noerdin
(Photo : Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Natural resources like animal food, timber and firewood are decreasing in forests in Africa, South America and Asia, a new study showed. The locals have not been getting the same amount of these resources like they did five to ten years ago.

This occurrence is called forest degradation. About 90 percent of the 233 villages analyzed, there was at least one product that decreased in supply, according to the study. Forest products like firewood, timber, food or animal feed have declined over five years, Science Daily reported. One proven product that decreased is timber. About 75 percent of the interviewed villagers in South America and Africa said it declined, while in Asia about 60 percent said it did.

Another forest product that declined because of forest degradation is firewood. 75 percent of villages and more than 50 percent in Asia said the availability of firewood decreased, the study further stated. Not only those two forest products have lessened but other resources like animal feed, food and medication have also declined. On the other hand, in South America, firewood, animal feed and medicinal plants have increased or are the same in amount.

"In some places, forest resources are not being used very sustainably," says Dr. Kathleen Hermans, the first author of the study and a social geographer in the UFZ's Department of Landscape Ecology. It might be because there is more demand than supply, she added. With the growing population, there are more people who need the forest products. However, the study did not directly prove that it was indeed because of the increase in population as to why forest degradation is happening, Hermans stated.

According to eSchool Today, forest degradation is different from deforestation. "Forest degradation is the destruction or reduction in quality of specific aspects of forests". Continuous degradation will have a large effect on human beings and the environment. It will wipe out a forest.

Forest degradation can be the effect of climate change, forest fires, pests and diseases. it can also be because of human consumption like what the study explained.

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