25 March 2019

Your car tires clear out rainforest in Cambodia

This news is redirected and translated by SCIENCE from Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. 

The forests of Cambodia are victims of the growing demand on natural rubber. In only 14 years, almost a fourth of the tropical forests in Cambodia has been cleared to make room for rubber plantations. In fact, the extent of deforestation is closely correlated to the world rubber prices, research from University of Copenhagen shows.

Since the mid-2000s, the world demand on natural rubber has been increasing greatly primarily due to the growth of China’s tire- and car industry. From 2001 to 2015, more than 2.2 million hectare forest in Cambodia was cut down corresponding to almost a fourth of the entire forest area in the country or to half of the size of Denmark. Almost a fourth of this area has been replanted with rubber trees.

Picture: Patrick Hostert.
Picture: Patrick Hostert.

Earlier it has been difficult to document that growing prices on raw rubber directly accelerate that rainforest is being cleared. But researchers from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at University of Copenhagen have now proven the fluctuations in the global rubber prices closely correspond to the extent of deforestation in Cambodia...

Read the rest of the article here (Danish only).

Read the academic article on the research published in Nature Plants here.