Deforestation: Decline in annual forest clearance


In our last article about the Amazon rainforest, we examined how 2020 could be even worse for deforestation in the Amazon. However, there could be light at the end of the tunnel. In the last five years, there has been a significant decline in deforestation. This can be seen by the fact that the annual deforested area has decreased by two million hectares, according to the UN. One reason for that is the increase in sustainable forestry.

Deforestation is slowing down worldwide

Deforestation has slowed down worldwide1. According to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the annual deforestation has decreased from 12 to 10 million hectares – this is just under the size of Iceland. The FAO presents a corresponding study entitled Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) every five years.

According to the report, there is currently a forested area of approximately 4.06 billion hectares. This is nearly a third (31 percent) of the entire earth’s surface2, which corresponds to about half a hectare per person. However, in net terms, i.e. including afforestation, the total forest area has decreased by 4.7 million hectares since 2010, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Estonia.

One reason for the slower decline of forest areas is increasingly sustainable forest management. “We are pleased to see that more and more forest areas are being managed on a long-term basis,” said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources.

This facilitates the implementation of the UN sustainability goal of protecting terrestrial ecosystems. This also includes the sustainable management of forests. “Forests make up a large part of our lives,” said Semedo. “You can see it in our food, our furniture, and we feel it in the cleaner air we breathe”.


1 Deforestation has slowed down but still remains a concern,

2 The state of the world’s forests 2020,

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