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Forests in the world have shrunk 3 percent since 1990

Staff writer ▼ | September 16, 2015
The globe's forests have shrunk by 3 percent since 1990, despite significant improvements in conservation over the past decade.
Trees   Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015
The UN's Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA) 2015 was released this week, revealing that while the pace of forest loss has slowed, the damage over the past 25 years has been considerable

Total forest area has declined by 3 percent between 1990 and 2015 from 4,128 million hectares to 3,999 million hectares - a loss of 129 million hectares.

Significantly, loss of natural forested area was double the global total at 6 percent, while tropical forests took the hardest hit with a loss rate of 10 percent.

Agricultural land development, by large and small scale producers, is believed to be the main driver behind the decreases, with Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria recording the biggest losses over the past five years.

But there have also been positive signs.

While the annual rate of net forest loss in the 1990s stood at 7.3 million hectares, it has since halved to 3.3 million hectares between 2010 and 2015.