Michael Shellenberger: "Against the picture painted by celebrities and the mainstream media that fires around the world are caused by economic growth, the truth is the opposite: the amount of land being burned is declining thanks to development, including urbanization. That's because the amount of land being converted into ranches and farms has been going down, not up, and because more of it is being done with machines than with fire. For the last 35 years, the world has been re-foresting, meaning new tree growth has exceeded deforestation. The area of the Earth covered with forest has increased by an area the size of Texas and Alaska combined.
Less land is being converted into agriculture globally in part because farmers are growing more food on less land. Much of the re-forestation is occurring in deserts and tundra that had been barren, thanks to human-led reforestation initiatives, such as in China and Africa, and because of global warming. Warmer temperatures are what have allowed forests to grow in tundra.
"The wealthy countries hold big speeches on the need to avoid deforestation but they already deforested everything. "Few countries have the moral authority to talk about deforestation with Brazil." - Luis Inácio "Lula" da Silva (2007)