This approach allowed scientists to focus on aspects of forest loss that were previously hard to measure, such as small-scale tree removal and mortality, also known as forest degradation. Most of the carbon emissions from forests — making up nearly 70 percent in the tropics of the Americas, Asia and Africa — are linked to forest degradation, said the report. “Deforestation, degradation and disturbance has caused tropical forests to now emit more carbon than they capture, countering their role as a net carbon ‘sink,'” it said.

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