Click here to view interactive version of map
A recent study based on satellite data estimates that . That also means that .
Forests are key to climate, water, health and livelihoods, and to mark the International Day of Forests, we’ve taken a look at the upcoming World Development Indicators 2016, and highlighted some trends in how forest cover has changed in the last 25 years.
Forests cover a third of the world’s land. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Earth’s forest area was about 50 million square kilometers. This has since shrunk to less than 40 million square kilometers. Most of this decline was caused by the growing demand for forest and paper products, as well as for agricultural land use.
In the last 25 years, the world’s forests shrank by 1.3 million square kilometers. Which means that soccer pitches an hour if that’s your thing.Another way of thinking about it: Or about 800
When we break things down by region, Latin America & the Caribbean has the world’s second largest share of forests (after Europe & Central Asia), with about one quarter of the world’s total. Since 1990, the region has lost some 970 thousand square kilometers – 10 percent of its forest area.
The world’s forests aren’t evenly distributed
If you really want to look at where the world’s forests are, I’d highly recommend visiting the Global Forest Watch interactive maps. Based on country-level statistics though, it’s unsurprising, yet still striking, that the world’s largest countries also have have the largest forest areas - seven of the ten countries above are among the top-10 largest countries by land area.
Protected areas - both terrestrial and marine are critical for the protection of key biodiversity efforts that would otherwise face decimation due to the pressures from the demand for food, materials, and energy.
Many countries have designated a share of their land and marine areas as protected areas to preserve valuable habitat and the plant and animal species that live there. By 2012, more than 14% of the world’s land area and about 10% of its territorial waters had been protected. As of 2012, Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa had the largest areas of protected land.
Indicators used for the blog:
Data from the World Development Indicators and Food and Agriculture Organization:
Forest area, and sq. km thousands - Code: AG.LND.FRST.K2
Forest area percentage of land area - Code: AG.LND.FRST.ZS
Terrestrial protected areas (% of total land area) - Code: ER.LND.PTLD.ZS