Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
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Monitoring the state of the world's forests

For every year from 1980 to 1990, an average of 15.4 million hectares were deforested around the world. Over the course of the decade, a total area more than three times the size of France was deforested. These findings from FAO's Forest Resources Assessment 1990 Project confirm that the rate of deforestation is accelerating, up more than 30 percent from the 11.4 million hectare annual rate estimated a decade earlier.

The FAO project analysed existing survey data to assess the forest cover area for 1990 and the extent of deforestation over the previous 10 years. Remote sensing and statistical sampling were used to supplement some survey data and obtain more accurate results.

Statistical and map data collected from the project are stored in a Forestry Resources Information System, while a Geographic Information System examines the human-forest interaction with information on vegetation types, ecofloristic zones and population distribution.

Collection and dissemination of authoritative information about forests has been an ongoing activity of FAO since the first years of its existence, when the ''World Forest Inventory'' was a major issue on the agenda of the FAO Conference. The data collected by the project helps planners and decision-makers in forestry at the national and international level. It also assists scientists both in assessing the sustainable capacity of forests and in understanding the dynamic processes of deforestation and forest degradation.
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