With all the recent talk about Earth Day and global warming, one thing is clear: the world could sure use some more oxygen and less CO2. In other words, we could use more trees.
Unfortunately, we’re losing trees. From 2000 to 2005 the earth lost more than a million square kilometers of forest land. And surprisingly, the country with the top percentage of forest lost was none other than the U.S.
In fact, North America lost the most forest out of the world’s six forest-containing continents — about 30 percent of the world’s total forest loss.
Why did the United States lose six percent of its forest cover in just five years? Even Brazil, the country we normally associate with deforestation, lost just 3.6 percent of its forest cover (although they did lose more area of forest than the U.S. — 165,000 kilometers versus 120,000 kilometers).
This shockingly high percentage in the U.S. can be attributed to fires, logging and beetle infestation. The mountain pine beetle is a little pest causing big problems in the nation’s forests because they eat their way deep into a tree’s bark to lay eggs. This essentially kills the tree, which you can identify by its bright red needles. The pine beetle population, which is usually kept in check by cool temperatures and winter mortality, is thriving to the point of environmental imbalance because of global warming.
Forest loss is also caused by agriculture, especially in countries like Argentina and Paraguay, where trees are cut down to make room for crops — including genetically modified soy, which is used as a food additive and in livestock feed. Just one more way factory farming contributes to global warming!
Malaysia has lost significant forest area because of palm oil plantations.
You can help lessen future deforestation in the U.S. from the out-of-control pine beetle infestation by signing this petition and telling the Senate to push for a robust climate bill.
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