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Amazon Rainforest Losing Equivalent To 8.4 Million Football Pitches Named Statistic Of The Decade

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Amazon Rainforest Losing Equivalent To 8.4 Million Football Pitches Named Statistic Of The Decade

Over the past 10 years, the Amazon Rainforest has lost the equivalent to 8.4 million football pitches or 24,000 square miles.

The shocking statement has now been named the International Statistic of the Decade by the Royal Statistical Society.

Since 2010, acre upon acre of 'the planet's lungs' have been decimated, with much of the land being snapped up by big business, to be used in the palm oil industry, cattle ranching and for logging.

Speaking about the decision, the chair of judges, professor Jennifer Rogers said: "The judging panel felt this statistic was highly effective in capturing one of the decade's worst examples of environmental degradation."


The world was shocked earlier this year when it was revealed that the Amazon rainforest had been suffering a series of devastating fires, with 906,000 hectares of land burned from thousands of bushfires since the start of 2019.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

It's understood that farmers often use fires to clear the forest and make room for farmland.

According to reports at the time, leaked documents revealed that Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro had plans for the region that could further endanger its rich biodiversity and displace the indigenous people who live within it.


Opendemocracy reported that the leaked documents showed that the Bolsonaro government planned to strategically occupy the Amazon region, so as to prevent several conservation projects for the rainforest from taking place.

Among these was the Triple A project, which, as The Independent reports, is a conservation effort led by the organisation Gaia Amazonas that aims to conserve 265 million square kilometers of jungle.

Among the plans uncovered was an apparent desire to build within the area, which came from a meeting in February this year, during which ministers met with local leaders to discuss building a bridge over the Amazon River in the city of Óbidos, a hydroelectric plant in Oriximiná, and the expansion of the BR-163 highway to the Suriname border.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The threats posed to the Amazon Rainforest and its importance to the planet, have been made even more obvious by the recent discovery of a new species of monkey, the Plecturocebus parecis.

They were first recorded more than 100 years ago, but have only very recently been recognised as their own group. If the rainforest continues to be destroyed at the same rate, it will put animals such as these at risk.

According to Liberty Vittert, one of this year's judges on the RSS panel, it would cost at least $30 billion (£26bn) to replace the land the Amazon has lost this past decade.

The panel also named the fact there are now 165 million SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) in the world - a rise of 35 million on 2010 - as the second most shocking fact.


The most startling statistic from the UK was that the average annual increase in the country's productivity in the 10 years since the financial crisis amounted to just 0.3 percent.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Interesting

Dominic Smithers
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