Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020 Remote Sensing Survey – UPSC Prelims

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has released the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020 Remote Sensing Survey.
What is the FRA 2020 Remote Sensing Survey?
The Survey was launched by FAO in 2018. The objectives of the survey are two-fold:
  • To build country capacities to use remote sensing for forest monitoring.
  • To generate independent, robust and consistent estimates of forest area and its changes over time at global, regional and biome levels.
What are the key findings of the survey?
  • Around 420 million hectares of forest has been lost since 1990.
  • The major cause of deforestation: Conversion of forest to cropland or grassland for livestock grazing is the prime cause. Almost 90% of deforestation worldwide was due to agricultural expansion.
  • Most of the deforestation was in the tropical biomes during 2000-2018.
  • The main deforestation reasons differ across the world’s regions. The reasons are:
    • Agriculture is the main reason for deforestation in all regions except Europe, where urban and infrastructure development have a higher impact
    • Conversion to cropland dominates forest loss in Africa and Asia
    • In South America, almost three-quarters of deforestation was due to livestock grazing
  • However, the survey has also found that there has been a slowdown in global deforestation.
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