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Forests

Theme: FORESTS Issue: Deforestation

Indicator: Proportion of land area covered by forest MDG indicator no.

25 under Target 9, Goal 7

Global deforestation, mainly through conversion of forests to agricultural land, continues at an alarmingly high rate – about 13 million hectares per year. At the same time, forest planting, landscape restoration and natural expansion of forests – mostly in the Northern hemisphere – have significantly reduced the net loss of forest area. The net loss in forest cover in the period 2000–2005 (deforestation minus reforestation) is estimated at 7.3 million hectares per year – an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama. Globally, the forest cover area in 2005 is estimated at 30.2 per cent of total land area, down from 30.5 per cent in 2000 and 31.2 per cent in 1990. The pace of forest loss seems to have decreased slightly, and some regions show a stabilization or net gain. Although the Latin America and Caribbean region still has the largest proportion of forest area, the decrease here is significant: from 49.2 per cent cover in 1990 to 45.8 per cent in 2005. Africa also shows a continued net loss of forest area with 21.4 per cent in 2005, compared to 23.6 per cent in 1990. Forest areas in Europe and North America continued to expand modestly in this period, while the Asia and Pacific and West Asia regions showed relatively little change.

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