The Netherlands has been losing 13.5 square kilometres of woodland every year since 2013, according to researchers at Wageningen University. They base their calculations on maps and aerial photographs of the Dutch countryside.
‘Up to 2013, we were planting more woods because farmers were getting subsidised to grow trees,’ researcher Erik Arets told broadcaster NOS. ‘But since then, we have been losing our woods.’
In Groningen and Drenthe woods are being replaced by farmland while in Noord-Brabant heather fields are taking over from trees. Increased urbanisation is also costing trees, the researchers say.
‘Our research shows that deforestation is not just something that happens in tropical countries and needs to be taken into account from the perspective of climate change,’ Arets said. ‘Action to combat deforestation should have an important role in policy.’
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