Eating Habits in Rich Countries Lead to Loss of “Four Trees a Year” Per Person: Study

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Eating Habits in Rich Countries Lead to Loss of


TORONTO – The eating habits of an average person living in a G7 country are responsible for the felling of around four trees each year, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by Japanese researchers, found that the consumption of imported products, such as coffee, chocolate, beef and palm oil, in Western countries increases deforestation in tropical forests rich in wildlife. .

“Deforestation, a significant threat to biodiversity, is being accelerated by global demand for commodities,” the study authors wrote.

Researchers say the study is the first to link maps of global deforestation to the wide array of foods imported into the world.

The results were published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

According to the study, the researchers combined high-resolution data on forest loss and its drivers with a global database of international trade relationships between 15,000 industrial sectors from 2001 to 2015.

The authors of the study say they were able to quantify the deforestation footprint of each country according to the consumption of its population.

“Despite the growing recognition of the severity of deforestation in developing countries, the footprints of deforestation have remained largely unchanged [since 2000]”, Reported the authors.

While China, India and the G7 countries, which includes Canada, have increased forest cover in their own countries, the study reported that they have also increased deforestation outside their borders in points hot spots in biodiversity, particularly in the Amazon and in the forests of Southeast Asia, Madagascar and Liberia.

According to the data, the consumption of chocolate in the United Kingdom and Germany is a major driver of deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, while the demand for beef and soybeans in the United States, Europe and China is driving destruction of forests in Brazil.

The study also found that coffee drinkers in the United States, Germany and Italy are a major cause of deforestation in central Vietnam, and demand for wood in China, South Korea and Japan is driving the loss of trees in northern Vietnam.

However, the researchers admit that the lack of data meant they were unable to link consumption to specific areas of these countries causing the deforestation.

The researchers noted that the United States has a particularly large deforestation footprint as the country is the main importer of a wide variety of commodities, including fruits and nuts from Guatemala, rubber from Liberia, and timber from the United States. Cambodia.

In addition, researchers observed a large deforestation footprint in the United States in Canada, the country being the main export destination for forest products from Canada.

According to the data, consumption in the G7 countries represents an average loss of four trees per year per person, but the United States is above average with five trees lost per capita.

The study reported that over 90 percent of deforestation in the UK, Japan, Germany, France and Italy occurs in foreign countries, with half of this deforestation occurring in tropical countries.

The study also found that China is responsible for the most deforestation in Malaysia due to imports of palm oil and other agricultural products.

The researchers say these findings could help target actions to stop deforestation.

The study’s authors warn that action must be taken to protect tropical rainforests, which are particularly threatened by the effects of international trade, as they say “current efforts are still not effective enough.”

“Our findings underscore the need to reform zero deforestation policies through strong transnational efforts and by improving supply chain transparency, public-private engagement and financial support for the tropics,” the study says. .

Researchers say international deforestation caused by trade will continue to have environmental impacts globally if G7 countries do not work to tackle the problem.

“While the G20 countries are still dependent on tropical forests and mangroves, economic growth does not solve the deforestation embodied in the tropics and subtropics,” they wrote.

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