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Measuring the Global Forest Cover

The world’s forest cover is declining, but at a lower rate than in the 1990s. And while some developing nations are cutting away more of their trees, others are planting more

Jasodhara Banerjee
Published: Sep 3, 2013 06:42:35 AM IST
Updated: Aug 26, 2013 04:40:17 PM IST
Measuring the Global Forest Cover
Image: Sameer Pawar


Measuring the Global Forest Cover
1. Some of the smallest countries have the densest forest covers. French Guiana, for instance, has 98 percent of its land under forests, while it’s 95 percent for Suriname.

2.Deforestation due to conversion of forests to agricultural land is declining in several countries but remains alarmingly high in others.

3. Around 13 million hectares of forest were converted to other uses or lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010. For the 1990s, the loss was 16 million hectares.

4. Brazil and Indonesia (with highest net loss in the 1990s) have significantly reduced their rates of loss, while in Australia, severe drought and forest fires have increased the loss of forests since 2000.

5. The net change in forest area between 1990 and 2000 was about -8.3 million hectares per year. For 2000-2010, the figure is -5.2 million hectares per year, an area slightly bigger than the size of Costa Rica. The current rate of loss is 37 percent lower than that of the 1990s.

6. This reduction is due to decrease in the deforestation rate and an increase in the area of new forests, through planting or seeding, and natural expansion of existing forests.

(This story appears in the 06 September, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Ms.kiran Chauhan

    I surprised India is on gaining side of forest cover??? I see wherever around me..,during traveling...its all building...building...Crowded shopping complexes..in which we cant even see, from where to go in and where to out! One or two..old trees covered with fumes and dust in mid of road...

    on Sep 17, 2013
  • Dr.a.jagadeesh

    Very good article. China has done well in improving the forest cover. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    on Sep 10, 2013
  • Dr.a.jagadeesh

    China has done well in increasing the forest cover and India is far behind as construed from the figures presented. China aims to increase its forest cover to 40 million hectares over the next decade as part of its commitment to cut down its intensity of carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent per unit of GDP by 2020. China will continue to accelerate the pace of forestry development in line with its promise to cut down emissions as compared to the 2005 levels, President Hu Jintao reiterated today. It is working to increase the country’s total forest inventory by 1.3 billion cubic metres from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Hu told the first APEC Forest Ministers meeting here. Representatives from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other international organisations attended the meeting. “China is ready to make new contributions to green growth and sustainable growth,” Mr. Hu said. According to a World Bank study, China’s forest cover has grown from nearly 12 per cent to more than 18 per cent in the past 20 years, through a concerted reforestation programme and a country-wide ban on logging. Its goal is to increase forest cover to 23 per cent by 2020. According to the Bank, China has undertaken the biggest plantation programme in the world availing its biggest funding of $ 1.2 billion since 1985. China had committed to voluntary emission reductions to cut down its intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 per cent, compared with 2005 levels. China had also said it would increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 per cent and have 40 million more hectares of forest by 2020. In 2007, the APEC leaders set a goal of securing a net growth of 20 million hectares in the region’s forest area by 2020. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    on Sep 8, 2013