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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Issue: Deforestation
Indicator: Proportion of land area covered by forest*
*MDG indicator no. 25 under Target 9, Goal 7

Figure 9: Proportion of land area covered by
forest (% of total land area) by region and global, 1990 and 2000

Between 1990–2000, the proportion of land area covered by forest for the world as a whole decreased from 30.4 to 29.7 per cent. The decrease was most significant in Latin America and the Caribbean (–2.3 per cent) and Africa (–1.8 per cent), with Europe and North America showing a slight increase (about 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively) (Figure 9).

Total forest area in those 10 years decreased by 2.4 per cent from 38.79 million km2 to 37.85 million km2. This deforested area, 940 000 km2, is equivalent to the size of a country like Colombia or Egypt.
Globally comprehensive annual and more recent data on forest cover are not available at the moment. However, recent preliminary findings of FAO indicate that agricultural land is expanding in about 70 per cent of countries, is declining in 25 per cent and is roughly static in five per cent of countries (FAO 2003), suggesting that global forest area may be further decreasing.

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