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Environment. Non-forest ecosystems forgotten by the EU?

For WWF "the destruction of peat bogs is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions"

As the governments of EU countries and the European Parliament start to discuss the European Commission's bill against deforestation, a new WWF report underlines that the EU will miss the goal of effectively tackling biodiversity loss and climate change if it does not immediately include non-forest ecosystems in the new law.

The survey "Beyond and forests: reducing the EU impact on all natural systems", conducted by 3keel, provides clear evidence of the impact of EU consumption on nine ecoregions of the planet. Presented last November, the European Commission's proposal limits the scope of the new law to forests only, with the possibility of extending it to other natural ecosystems starting from the first revision of the law. But the failure to include non-forest ecosystems in the bill, the Association underlines, risks transferring the pressure and destruction caused by agricultural production and livestock from forests to savannahs, grasslands and peatlands.

Grasslands and savannas can hold twice the amount of carbon in tropical forests, and the destruction of peatlands is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. The report reveals that a substantial part of the goods imported into the EU come from regions rich in biodiversity and important carbon sinks: more than half of the Brazilian Cerrado, the most biodiverse savannah in the world, has been cleared, mainly to make room for production. of soy and meat. In 2019, meat imports into the EU from Cerrado amounted to 26% of the total imported, and almost a fifth of the meat exported from the region. About 14% of Argentina's Chaco, a mosaic of grasslands and savannas, was converted to agriculture during the 2000s mainly for soybean production. In 2019, the EU imported around 24% of all soybeans exported from the region.

94% of Sumatra's peatlands have been converted or degraded to produce palm oil, natural rubber and tree plantations to produce cellulose. About 19% of EU imports of natural rubber and 14% of palm oil come from Sumatra. Finally, the central basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a region of forests and wetlands, includes the largest peat bog complex in the world with approximately 30.6 billion tons of carbon retained underground. 20% of all the wood exported by the DRC arrives in the EU, which significantly drives the demand for the wood industry in the area.

The complete report in English is attached.

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EFA News - European Food Agency