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About 49 million acres of forest disappeared worldwide in 2015

A Mississippi-sized chunk of the world’s forests was decimated in 2015 because of wildfire, logging and expanding palm oil plantations, according to a new study. The loss is part of a continuing trend of deforestation that could have devastating implications for the climate.

About 49 million acres of forest disappeared worldwide in 2015, mainly in North America and the tropics, putting the year’s global deforestation level at its second-highest point since data gathering began in 2001. In all, the globe lost 47 percent more forested land in 2015 than it did 16 years ago, according to the study by Global Forest Watch.

Deforestation accounts for more than 10 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions driving climate change. Dense tropical forests are also critical to keeping the climate stable because they suck up large amounts of human carbon pollution from the atmosphere, storing it in tree trunks, leaves, roots and soil.

CIFOR

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