Our consumer habits have a significant impact on the disappearance of natural forests.
Palm oil, soya, cattle, wood… International trade is a powerful driver of illegal deforestation in tropical countries. A recent study carried out in September 2014 by the US organisation ‘Forest Trends’ has given a stark insight into the extent of the problem.
Almost 50% of deforestation in tropical countries is due to the illegal conversion of natural areas into commercial farmlands. In 50% of cases, this land is dedicated to satisfying the consumer demands of the major industrialised nations, which includes not only of the US and the EU, but also India and China.
About 25% of illegal deforestation in the tropics is therefore related- either directly or indirectly- to the exportation of consumer goods. In Columbia and Peru, deforestation is worsening as this unregulated export economy continues to grow. In Bolivia, the production of soya beans (75% of which are exported) is the main cause of illegal deforestation in the Amazonian area of the country.
The investigation, which was conducted across twenty tropical countries where the disparition of natural forests is the most serious, estimates that around 40% of palm oil, 20% of soya beans, nearly 33% of tropical wood and 14% of cattle traded on a global scale are produced on illegally deforested land.
To evaluate the combined impact of the production of such goods, Envol Vert has devised its very own ‘Forest Footprint’ tool, which invites you to take our quiz and calculate your own forest footprint.
Here you can find out the link between each of your favourite consumer goods and deforestation, and what you can do to decrease your own forest footprint and reduce the effects of deforestation.