A forestry researcher inspecting trees, Zimbabwe. 18 per cent of the world's forests are located within protected areas.Photo> © FAO/Zinyange Auntony

Forest loss is slowing globally

The rate of global deforestation has slowed, although deforestation continue, the highest rate of net forest losses over the last decade being recorded in Africa, followed by South America.

Globally, deforestation continues, albeit at a slower rate, with 10 million hectares a year being converted to other uses since 2015, down from 12 million hectares a year in the previous five years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stated in May 2020. Referring to the recently published key findings of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020), the full FRA2020 report, with country data, will be released at a later date. 

Almost a third of the world's land surface is covered by forests, which provide a slew of materials, services, aesthetic comfort, and support millions of livelihoods. Today there are 4.06 billion hectares of forest, equal to 0.52 hectare for each person on Earth.

On a net basis, including forest expansions, the world's forest area declined by 4.7 million hectares a year since 2010. Since 1990, the world's forest area has shrunk by 178 million hectares, roughly the size of Libya. During the last decade, Forest area has increased in Asia, Oceania and Europe, while the highest rate of net forest losses was recorded in Africa, followed by South America.

One notable upside captured by the new assessment is that the area covered by forest in protected areas globally has increased by 191 million hectares since 1990. Today, now 18 per cent of the world's forests are located within protected areas, with South America home to the highest share of these, FAO says.

That means that, for forests, the world has met and surpassed the Aichi Biodiversity Target to protect at least 17 per cent of terrestrial area by 2020, said FAO Senior Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen, who coordinated the assessment.

(FAO/ile)

Read more at FAO website

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