Changing rates of rainforest deforestation
How are rates of rainforest deforestation changing?
Tropical rainforest is found within the borders of 62 countries. The graph below shows the top 24 countries.
It is estimated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that about half the world’s tropical rainforest has been cleared.
The map below shows the % of land covered in forest between 1990 and 2015 for countries around the world. By hovering over a country you can see the proportion of land covered by forest. Clicking a country will display a graph showing changes in forest cover between 1990 and 2015. Exploring the countries located along the equator it is clear that in most cases forest cover is reducing, due to deforestation. This includes countries with large areas of rainforest such as Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru and Indonesia. There are some exceptions, for example, forest cover in Gabon has increased.
Rates of deforestation vary between country. The graph below shows the total amount of forest loss in the top 24 countries by rainforest cover between 2001 and 2018.
Rates of deforestation vary between years. The graph below shows rates of deforestation between 1990 and 2011 in the 10 countries with the largest areas of primary tropical rainforest.
As you can see trends in deforestation vary between countries. Indonesia has seen a rise in the rate of deforestation between 2002 and 2011. In Brazil, rates of deforestation have fluctuated but show a declining trend in the rate of deforestation.
The graph below clearly illustrates the countries where the rate of deforestation is increasing and decreasing. It is evident that during the first decade of this century deforestation increased in all three continents, Asia, Africa and South America. The increase in deforestation was greatest in Indonesia and Peru.
The graph also shows the rate of deforestation decreased in seven countries. Deforestation in Brazil fell to a record low. However, it is still responsible for the highest level of deforestation out of all countries home to the rainforest. Approximately half of the remaining forest in Brazil has protected status. However, 20% of the Amazon has been cleared since 1970.
In Mexico, the decrease in the rate of deforestation is greatest. However, this is likely due to the fact that very little rainforest remains.
In summary, 80 000 hectares of rainforest are being cut down every day. That’s equivalent to 77 670 football pitches. In a year, an area the size of Poland is being lost.
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