TROPICAL FORESTS UNDER THREAT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Environment)

News-CRUX-10     26th October 2023        
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Context: Recently, at the Summit of the Three Basins in Brazzaville (capital of the Republic of the Congo), it was revealed that tropical forests in these regions are still threatened by fossil fuel and extractive industry expansion.

Key Points

  • These basins are seeing extensive forest loss and are moving towards a systemic ecosystem breakdown that affects global climate stability, biodiversity and the livelihoods
  • In Indonesia, half of all nickel concessions overlap with natural forests and a fivefold risk of deforestation / degradation is possible if nickel mining permits expand to cover the full deposit area.
  • In the Amazon basin, nearly 13 percent of undisturbed tropical forests overlap with existing or planned oil and gas blocks and more than 33 per cent overlap with active and inactive mining concessions.

Tropical Forest

  • About: Tropical forests are dense, closed-canopy ecosystems that thrive within approximately 28 degrees north or south of the equator.
  • Rainfall: Exceeding 200 cm, either seasonally or year-round, creating consistently humid conditions.
  • Temperatures: From 20°C to 35°C throughout the year.
  • Geographic Distribution: Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, and numerous Pacific Islands.
  • Distribution in India: Eastern and western slopes of the Western Ghats.

o Rainforests exhibit remarkable biodiversity and unique ecological characteristics.

  • Layers in Lowland: A mature lowland tropical forest comprises various layers of vegetation.
  • The uppermost layer consists of scattered tall trees that tower above the rest, creating an impressive and diverse canopy.