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Third largest tropical forest could be halved by 2021, study warns

The forests of Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (păp`ə, –y  are being chopped down so quickly that more than half its trees could be lost by 2021, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 a new satellite study of the region.

Papua New Guinea has the world's third largest tropical forest, but it was being cleared or degraded de·grad·ed  
1. Reduced in rank, dignity, or esteem.

2. Having been corrupted or depraved.

3. Having been reduced in quality or value.
 at a rate of 362,000 hectares (895,000 acres) a year in 2001, the report said.

Phil Shearman, lead author of the study by the University of Papua New Guinea The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) was established by ordinance of the Australian administration in 1965. This followed the Currie Commission which had enquired into higher education in Papua New Guinea. The University of Papua New Guinea Act No.  and the Australian National University Australian National University, located in Canberra and state-sponsored, founded 1946 as Australia's only completely research-oriented university. Originally limited to graduate studies, it expanded in 1960, merging with Canberra University College (est. 1929). , said: "Forests are being logged repeatedly and wastefully with little regard for the environmental consequences, and with at least the passive complicity com·plic·i·ty  
n. pl. com·plic·i·ties
Involvement as an accomplice in a questionable act or a crime.


pl -ties
 of government authorities."

The researchers compared satellite images taken over three decades from the early 1970s. In 1972 the country had 38m hectares (94m acres), of rainforest covering 82% of the country. About 15% of that was cleared by 2002.

Shearman said: "For the first time we have evidence of what's happening. The government could make a significant contribution to global efforts to combat climate change, as this nation is particularly susceptible to negative effects due to loss of the forest cover."

Papua New Guinea was a founder of the Rainforest Coalition group of tropical states that say rich countries should pay them to protect their forests as a way of tackling climate change. But the study suggests many of the trees could be gone by the time any deal is in place.

"If they are allowing multinational timber companies to take everything that's accessible, all that will be left will be lands that are physically inaccessible to exploitation and would never have been logged," said Shearman.
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Date:Jun 3, 2008
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