The burning of the Amazon has caused alarm around the world, from the Vatican to the G7, and there are fears that unless the fires are stopped swiftly the forests could reach a point of no return in the loss of wildlife and biodiversity.
Forest loss has also been happening in other areas of the world but has received a lower level of global attention. Africa is of particular concern. According to a report on the New York Declaration on Forests, signed in 2014 with the aim of halting deforestation globally by 2030, the new hotspots of increasing forest loss are in west Africa and the Congo basin.
While the greatest losses of forests by area in the years 2014-18 occurred in tropical Latin America, the greatest rate of increase was in Africa, where deforestation rates leapt from less than 2m hectares a year on average from 2001 to 2013, to more than 4m a year from 2014 to 2018. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo rates of deforestation have doubled in the past five years.