By the numbers
Global demand for food will grow by at least 50 percent over the next two decades. Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the few regions of the world where there are remaining large areas that could be converted to agriculture. While most of the increase in food production will be met by boosting yields, there will be growing pressure to expand farming into areas covered by natural forests. At present, the region’s agricultural activities generate about 980 million tons of C02 equivalent per year.
About 100 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are exposed to air pollution levels exceeding World Health Organization guidelines. While urban air quality has become a higher priority issue in several major cities over the past two decades, there is limited knowledge about this problem. By bringing pollution down to levels accepted in more developed countries, the region could avoid more than 10,000 premature deaths a year.
9 million Km2
Forests cover more than 9 million square kilometers in Latin America and the Caribbean, or about 46 percent of its landmass. While deforestation is advancing due to the expansion of agriculture, increased extractive activities and urbanization, many countries have established protected areas, which by 2005 covered 10.5 percent of the region’s territory, roughly double the area of two decades earlier.