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Annual changes in forest area

The global forest area has reduced from around 4,128 million hectares in 1990 to 3,999 million hectares in 2015.  This represents a decrease of around 7.3 million hectares (0.2%) per year between 1990 and 2000, of around 4.0 million hectares (0.1%) per year between 2000 and 2010 and of around 3.3 million hectares (0.1%) per year between 2010 and 2015 (Table 9.2).

The forest area has reduced in most regions since 1990, except for Europe (where the area increased in each time period) and Asia (where the area reduced between 1990 and 2000 but has increased by more between 2000 and 2015).

Table 9.2 Annual changes in forest area by region, 1990-2015

Region 1990-2000  2000-2010  2010-2015 
  (thousand ha) (%) (thousand ha) (%) (thousand ha) (%)
Europe            
    UK 18 0.6 11 0.3 17 0.5
    EU-281 681 0.5 450 0.3 369 0.2
Total Europe 803 0.1 1 127 0.1 382 0.0
    Africa -3 537 -0.5 -3 209 -0.5 -2 836 -0.4
    Asia -221 0.0 2 349 0.4 791 0.1
    North and Central America -394 -0.1 172 0.0 75 0.0
    Oceania 82 0.0 -564 -0.3 304 0.2
    South America -4 000 -0.4 -3 868 -0.4 -2 024 -0.2
World -7 267 -0.2 -3 993 -0.1 -3 308 -0.1

Source: FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015.

Notes:

1. Cyprus is included in EU-28 total but is part of FAO’s Asia region.

2. UK figures for 2015 are 2013-based estimates. Revised estimates (from Chapter 1) suggest that Table 9.2 slightly under-estimates the change in forest area in the UK in the most recent time period.

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics.  For further information see the Sources chapter.

Between 2010 and 2015, the largest decrease in forest area was in Brazil (1.0 million hectares per year on average) and the largest increase was in China (1.5 million hectares per year on average) (Figure 9.3).

Figure 9.3 Countries with largest changes in forest area, 2010-2015

Fig 9.3v2.png

Source: FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015.

Notes:

1. Countries with changes of at least 0.3 million hectares per year only.

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics.  For further information see the Sources chapter.

Additional resources

Sources chapter: International Forestry

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