This report provides a comprehensive analysis of deforestation connecting drivers and responses globally by taking a closer look at 24 “deforestation fronts” – places that have a significant concentration of deforestation hotspots and where large areas of remaining forests are under threat. Over 43 million hectares were lost in these fronts between 2004 and 2017, an area roughly the size of Morocco.
The analysis presented here focuses on the tropics and sub-tropics, which accounted for at least two-thirds of global forest cover loss from 2000 to 2018 and where forest fragmentation is significant. Nearly half of the standing forests in these 24 deforestation fronts have suffered some type of fragmentation. Among these deforestation fronts, the Maya Forest, shared by the south of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala is included.
One of these deforestation fronts is the Maya Forest, shared by Petén in Guatemala, Belize and the south of Mexico. The Maya Forest constitutes one of the largest tropical forest areas in the Americas. It provides significant environmental services, including carbon sequestration and biodiversity, as well as vital forest resources for rural communities. While this region has long been subject to deforestation, frontiers of forest loss have changed over time. In the last decade, deforestation has shifted from southern to north-western Petén (Guatemala), and has increasingly advanced over north-eastern Campeche and southern Quintana Roo (Mexico). Deforestation drivers have also changed. If cattle ranching and slash-and-burn were the main drivers in the past, commercial farming (small-scale but especially large-scale) now plays an increasingly important role.