New analysis of satellite data shows that much of the world’s old-growth forests remain threatened, despite the forest protection laws passed by many countries in recent years. Vast areas of remaining intact forest on four continents have been degraded because of poor enforcement of existing forest protection laws, according to researchers at the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI).
As scientists at the WRI’s Global Forest Watch project examined data on what they thought were still vast, untouched stretches of intact forests worldwide, they concluded that such forest cover no longer existed, said Dirk Bryant, founder and co-director of the project. “We are rapidly moving towards a world where wilderness forests are confined primarily to islands of parks and reserves, with surrounding areas managed commercially for timber and other resources,” he said.
The two-year-old project seeks to provide precise information on forest loss by combining digital and satellite data with knowledge from organizations and researchers based in eight countries.