International accords on saving vulnerable forests are having little impact because they do not attack the core causes such as growing demand for biofuels and food crops, a new report said.
With Africa and South American alone losing 7.4 million hectares (18.3 million acres) of forest a year, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) said a drastic change of policy is needed by the United Nations and governments.
Sixty international experts said in the report, to be presented at a UN forum this week, that too much attention is being put on forests as a store of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming.
Deforestation accounts for about a quarter of the global greenhouse gas emissions each year which are blamed for rising temperatures. Live trees act as a sponge for carbon but give it off when they decay or are burned.
"Our findings suggest that disregarding the impact on forests of sectors such ...