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Mountain forests are disappearing at an alarming rate

Mountain forests are disappearing at an alarming rate

A study published on Friday has found that mountain forests, which are home to 85% of the world’s birds, mammals, and amphibians, are disappearing at an alarming rate due to logging, wildfires, and farming.

In 2000, mountain forests covered 1.1 billion hectares of the planet, but at least 78.1 million hectares have been lost between 2000 and 2018, an area larger than the US state of Texas.

The loss of mountain forests has been driven by commercial logging, wildfires, “slash-and-burn” cultivation, and commodity agriculture.

The loss is particularly concerning in mountain areas that are “tropical biodiversity hotspots” and home to rare and endangered species.

According to a paper, mountainous regions are the natural habitats for over 85% of the world’s birds, mammals, and amphibians. These areas were historically less accessible, providing greater protection for their ecosystems compared to lowlands.

However, with the increasing exploitation of remote areas and greater emphasis on lowland forest conservation, mountainous habitats are now facing significant threats.

‘Impact is huge’

The study found that Asia experienced the largest amount of forest loss, with over 39.8 million hectares lost during the study period. Significant losses were also observed in South America, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

The impact on biodiversity in tropical areas, which have the richest biodiversity, is significant. The authors recommend that people be encouraged to live with the forest in tropical areas, rather than cutting it down.

While some areas have seen regrowth, it is not keeping up with forest loss, and there is a need for better forest management and stricter enforcement of laws and regulations to protect mountain forests.

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