Smoke fills the air among burnt trees in the village of Pucarica, near Abrantes, central Portugal, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. Strong winds and rising temperatures stoked wildfires in Portugal on Thursday, ending days of cooler weather that brought a brief respite from a spate of blazes, including one that killed 64 people in June. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

In 2016, the world’s forests lost more than 73.4 million acres of tree cover — an area roughly the size of New Zealand, and a 51 percent increase from the year before.
Tree cover — considered any wooded area, natural or otherwise — is declining at an alarming rate, fueled by poor forest management and climate change-driven drought, according to a study published Monday by Global Forest Watch.
“We see a massive increase in tree cover loss in 2016, and, from what we have seen, it seems like the main reason for the increase is a proliferation of forest fires both in the tropics and other parts of the world,” Mikaela Weisse, a research analyst with Global Forest Watch, told ThinkProgress. “Part of the fires that we are seeing are natural, but really a lot is from this human element that we need to get under control. We need to do a …
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