Deforestation and net forest area change

  • The rate of deforestation shows signs of decreasing – but is still alarmingly high. Deforestation – mainly the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural land – shows signs of decreasing in several countries but continues at a high rate in others.
  • Around 13 million hectares of forest were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year in the last decade compared to 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s.
  • Both Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest net loss of forest in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their rate of loss, while in Australia, severe drought and forest fires have exacerbated the loss of forest since 2000.
  • Large-scale planting of trees is significantly reducing the net loss of forest area globally
  • Afforestation and natural expansion of forests in some countries and regions have reduced the net loss of forest area significantly at the global level.
  • The net change in forest area in the period 2000–2010 is estimated at –5.2 million hectares per year (an area about the size of Costa Rica), down from –8.3 million hectares per year in the period 1990–2000.
Source: FAO Forest Resources Assessment 2010

last updated:  Friday, November 4, 2011