Deforestation speeds up climate change in two ways: First, the loss of trees reduces the forests’ capacity to convert carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Second, if deforestation is not carried out for the production of timber, but for the winning of arable land, it is often done by burning down forests, which in turn sets free even more carbon dioxide.
In the past years, there has been some progress in slowing down and even reversing this development through so-called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) initiatives.
All the progress in the rainforests of Brazil and Sumatra is however in danger of being undone by the strange environmental policies of another country: Iran.
The Iranian military is reported to have set forests in the Kurdish region of the country on fire, arguing that these forests have served as a cover for Kurdish rebels.
With only 6.8 % of Iran’s area covered by forest, the Iranian government should maybe think of more sophisticated measures. But sophistication is the last thing we expected from the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, isn’t it? Or maybe Iran is simply jealous of the massive tree-killing taking place in other places at this season?