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Rainforest loss slows

Deforestation rates in tropical countries dropped significantly during the first decade of the 21st century relative to the 1990s, reveals new data released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

FAO figures show deforestation across 121 tropical countries averaged 9.34 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 11.33 million hectares per year in the 1990s. The decline has accelerated since 2005 due Brazil's dramatic reduction of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which peaked at 27,772 square kilometers in 2004 but is expected to come in at less than 8,000 for 2010. Overall Brazil's reduction in deforestation since 2005—which fell from 3.2 million hectares per year from 2000-2005 to 2.5 million hectares in 2005-2010—more than offset increases in forest clearing in other major forest countries including Democratic Indonesia (107 percent increase), Peru (94 percent), and Madagascar (36 percent) during the period.  

 

Other major countries that showed sharp reductions in deforestation between the first half of the decade and the second half of the decade include Mexico (37 percent drop), Laos (24 percent), Cambodia (22 percent), and Cameroon (14 percent). FAO estimates global deforestation fell from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 13 million hectares per year in the past decade. Factoring in planted forests, the loss of rate cover fell from 8.3 million hectares per year to 5.2 million hectares, an area about the size of Costa Rica. Loss of primary forest, the most carbon-dense and biologically diverse form of forest, declined by more than 40 million hectares over the past decade, primarily a result of first-time logging. Logging of primary does not necessarily result in deforestation, but does register a change under FAO's classification system. After Nigeria, which has almost no remaining old growth forest, South Korea had the highest annual rate of primary forest loss at nearly 4 percent per year over the past five years.

  Forest cover (excluding planted forests) Annual change
  1000 ha 1000 ha 1000 ha 1000 ha 1000 ha 1000 ha  
  1990 2000 2005 2010 2000-2005 2005-2010 change in rate
Angola 60836 59594 58973 58352 -124.2 -124.2 -
Benin 5751 5048 4796 4542 -50.4 -50.8 0.8%
Bhutan 3034 3139 3193 3246 10.8 10.6 -1.9%
Bolivia 62775 60071 58714 57176 -271.4 -307.6 13.3%
Brazil 569855 540767 524729 512104 -3207.6 -2525 -21.3%
Burkina Faso 6840 6190 5871 5540 -63.8 -66.2 3.8%
Cambodia 12877 11467 10657 10025 -162 -126.4 -22.0%
Cameroon 24316 22116 20932 19916 -236.8 -203.2 -14.2%
Central African Republic 23201 22901 22753 22603 -29.6 -30 1.4%
Chad 13099 12303 11906 11508 -79.4 -79.6 0.3%
Colombia 62382 61254 60674 60094 -116 -116 -
Congo 22675 22505 22420 22336 -17 -16.8 -1.2%
Costa Rica 2269 2173 2269 2364 19.2 19 -1.0%
Côte d'Ivoire 10068 10067 10068 10066 0.2 -0.4 N/A
Cuba 1711 2093 2309 2384 43.2 15 -65.3%
DR Congo 160307 157192 155635 154076 -311.4 -311.8 0.1%
Ecuador 13817 11680 10688 9698 -198.4 -198 -0.2%
Ethiopia 14623 13214 12509 11785 -141 -144.8 2.7%
French Guiana 8187 8117 8099 8081 -3.6 -3.6 -
Gabon 21970 21970 21970 21970 0 0 -
Ghana 7398 6034 5357 4680 -135.4 -135.4 -
Guatemala 4697 4115 3837 3484 -55.6 -70.6 27.0%
Guinea 7204 6832 6642 6451 -38 -38.2 0.5%
Guinea-Bissau 2216 2120 2071 2021 -9.8 -10 2.0%
Guyana 15205 15205 15205 15205 0 0 -
Honduras 8136 6392 5792 5192 -120 -120 -
India 58223 58223 58223 58223 0 0 -
Indonesia 118545 95737 94158 90883 -315.8 -655 107.4%
Kenya 3470 3370 3320 3270 -10 -10 -
Laos 17311 16433 15918 15527 -103 -78.2 -24.1%
Liberia 4921 4621 4471 4321 -30 -30 -
Madagascar 13461 12850 12548 12138 -60.4 -82 35.8%
Malawi 3764 3370 3117 2872 -50.6 -49 -3.2%
Malaysia 20420 19932 19317 18649 -123 -133.6 8.6%
Mali 14067 13226 12680 11960 -109.2 -144 31.9%
Mexico 70291 65693 63184 61599 -501.8 -317 -36.8%
Mozambique 43340 41150 40055 38960 -219 -219 -
Myanmar 38824 34172 32472 30785 -340 -337.4 -0.8%
Nepal 4777 3858 3593 3593 -53 0 -10.0%
Nicaragua 4514 3814 3390 3040 -84.8 -70 -17.5%
Nigeria 16983 12821 10740 8659 -416.2 -416.2 -
Panama 3779 3325 3248 3172 -15.4 -15.2 -1.3%
Papua New Guinea 31460 30051 29345 28640 -141.2 -141 -0.1%
Paraguay 21134 19332 18432 17534 -180 -179.6 -0.2%
Peru 69893 68498 67988 66999 -102 -197.8 93.9%
Philippines 6268 6790 7051 7313 52.2 52.4 0.4%
Senegal 9143 8592 8266 8009 -65.2 -51.4 -21.2%
Sierra Leone 3111 2914 2813 2711 -20.2 -20.4 1.0%
Solomon Islands 2280 2240 2214 2186 -5.2 -5.6 7.7%
Suriname 14763 14763 14763 14745 0 -3.6 -
Tanzania 41345 37262 35215 33188 -409.4 -405.4 -1.0%
Thailand 16881 15893 15454 14986 -87.8 -93.6 6.6%
Uganda 4717 3837 3398 2937 -87.8 -92.2 5.0%
Venezuela 52026 49151 47713 46275 -287.6 -287.6 -
Viet Nam 8396 9675 10283 10285 121.6 0.4 -99.7%
Zambia 52740 51074 50241 49406 -166.6 -167 0.2%
Zimbabwe 22010 18774 17151 15516 -324.6 -327 0.7%

Note: FAO data is based largely on self-reporting by countries. So countries lack adequate systems for tracking changes in forest cover.
Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010

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