October 24, 2012

NASA data shows dry forest losses

A recent study based on NASA satellite data looked at changes in dry forest cover for Latin America and the Caribbean over a 10 year period.  Discovering dry forest losses of almost 4%, many are surprised to learn that this is twice the rate of loss for rainforests in the same region (1.9%).  There are, however, still over 9 million square kilometers of rainforest left, while there’s less than 2 million left of dry forests.

Although not best known for it dry forests, Latin America possesses significant land areas where it naturally occurs as the dominant vegetation.  Peru, for instance, has the largest dry forest in the Americas at Bosque de Pomac on its Northern desert coast.  Across Latin America as a whole, around 78,000 square meters of dry forest were lost between 2001 and 2010. Argentina and Paraguay suffered the greatest percentage losses of dry forest in this period.  Argentina destroyed over 67,000 square kilometers, while Paraguay managed to eliminate almost 17,000.

Mexico had the happiest scenario by gaining around 12,800 square kilometers of dry forest between 2001 and 2010.   Some of this country’s improvements have been put down to the abandonment of farms in areas which are very dry.


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