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The first trees emerged about 400 million years ago. Humanity needs only about 18,000 years more to destroy them completely. This estimate is overly simplistic and assumes a “no change” scenario from current trends in deforestationan annual average loss of -0.13 percentbut it forces us to examine the data from a what if perspective, keeping in mind that forests are one of the most important natural filters and producers of oxygen.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was viewed as the turning point for global environmental policy, seeking to overturn disruptive ecological and environmental trends compounded by the industrial revolution and to spur development of national-level environmental policies to address emerging issues. The persistence of deforestation for land clearing and the continued popularity of wood in building and manufacturing despite the critical volume of forest coverage required is (disturbingly) evident in the data.

  • According to statistics from World Bank, a slightly greater share of countries reported a decrease in total forested area from 1990 through 2015 than reported an increase in total forested area, yielding a loss of 1.3 million square kilometers of forest area. In 2015, 89 countries (42.4 percent) reported a total decrease in forested area during the 25 year period, whereas 80 reported a gain and 37 reported no change.
  • Trends in forestry production indicate that even production of paper and paperboard increased—growing 3.5 percent from 2010 to 2015—according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, despite trends in favor of paperless work environments and declining subscriptions to newsprint media, for example.
  • At the same time, deforestation also negates other efforts globally to halt the growth in total emissions of carbon dioxide. When trees are felled, the stored carbon dioxide in the trees is released into the atmosphere, where the CO2 mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming.

Related Data Insights

Las2017 and 4th European Forest Week

Las2017 - the joint 75th session of the ECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the 39thsession of the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) will be held  9 - 13 October 2017 in Warsaw Poland. The 4th European Forest Week will be celebrated in conjunction. Date of Event: 9-12 October 2017 Venue: Warsaw, Poland Event holder: Food and Agriculture Organization

Land Trade in the World: Who Buys and Who Sells the Most

The economic divide among countries worldwide carries over into patterns of land purchases and sales. The United States and large economies and trading markets of Asia and the Middle East represent at least 30 percent of global land purchases since 2000, according to the LandMatrix, an independent land monitoring initiative. In contrast, the largest sellers of land globally include Russia—also among the top buyers—as well as developing countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.Since 2000, the United States has been the most active country in the world in land trade, purchasing roughly 4 million hectares of land worldwide, which...

Permanent Meadows and Pastures

Source: Resource Statistics - Land - July 2013

Temporary Meadows and Pastures

Temporary meadows and pastures is the land temporarily cultivated with herbaceous forage crops for mowing or pasture. A period of less than five years is used to differentiate between temporary and permanent meadows. Countries with the biggest square of temporary meadows and pastures are Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, and Ethiopia. These countries have more than 57 percent of total temporary meadows and pastures. Source: Resource Statistics - Land