In Brief: Deforestation gets a mixed report


Photo: CAR’s Ministry Water & Forestery Resources
Forests are among the world’s main carbon sinks

JOHANNESBURG, 26 March 2010 (IRIN) – One of the most comprehensive forest reviews conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization shows that the rate of forest loss had dropped by three million hectares every year between 2000 and 2010.

Around 13 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010; during the 1990s around 16 million hectares were lost annually.

The world’s forests cover just over four billion hectares or 31 percent of the total land area.

Other significant findings released on 25 March were:

– Brazil and Indonesia, which recorded highest loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their deforestation rates.

– South America lost 4 million hectares of forest per year; Africa lost 3.4 million hectares annually – these were the highest losses in the last decade.

– Oceania registered a net loss of forests, partly due to severe drought in Australia since 2000.

– Asia registered a net gain of some 2.2 million hectares annually in the last decade.

– Tree-planting programmes in China, India, the United States and Vietnam, combined with a natural expansion of forests in some regions, added more than seven million hectares of new forests annually.

The full report of the assessment will be released in October 2010.
Read the Key Findings

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* The report was corrected on 29 March, 2010. The report had incorrectly reported that the rate of forest loss had halved every year between 2000 and 2010.

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