Forests of the world; Decades of destruction and change

جنگل‌های دنیا؛ دهه‌ها نابودی و تغییر

The majority of biodiversity on land – including more than 70,000 tree species – can be found in forests. However, only 18% of these areas are legally protected in places such as forest parks. In the last two decades alone, the size of pristine forests around the world has shrunk by 12 percent – and it continues to do so.

Forests cover one third of the land area; Something about 40 million square kilometers.

The intensity of the green color indicates the height of the forests.

Among these, humid tropical forests have a special role in the sustainability of the planet’s climate. They cover only 6% of the earth’s land, yet they store more than half of the world’s plant carbon. But these forests are increasingly under tension.

Wet tropical forests
Wet tropical forests

One method that scientists use to track stressors in forests is called Gross Primary Production (GPP); Total CO values2 Which is absorbed by the atmosphere and plants use it as energy for photosynthesis.

Very high or very low GPP levels indicate forest vulnerability to human and climatic stresses.

GPP Gross Primary Production Forests
Blue: High GPP
Purple: Very low GPP

Over the past 20 years, the world’s forests have suffered significant deforestation. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, these forest areas are affected by 6 to 100 percent of their range.

Changes in forests in the last 20 years
Yellow: Low intensity
Purple: Highly affected

These disturbances – including logging, agriculture and logging – rapidly invade healthy forests, reducing forest biomass and their ability to cope with drought and fire.

Central and North America

From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Disrupt fires, insects and forest diseases; Infrastructure and development are the main drivers of deforestation. In the United States and Canada, strong logging laws have kept timber under control.

Healthy Northern Canadian Forest

Deforestation Canada

This ecosystem contains one of the highest proportions of healthy and primitive forests on earth. About 9% of it is formally protected. Threats include logging, dams, mining and fire.

Pests of Northwest America

North American Deforestation

The pine tree beetle has affected more than 300,000 square kilometers of trees in the last twenty years. Climate warming and changing climate patterns could increase the frequency and severity of crustacean attacks in the future.

Trade in the Southeastern United States

Southeastern United States Deforestation

Pine forest wetlands are cut down to support the growing industry of wood pellets (fuel pellets). The industry exports more than 8 million tons per year; Most bullets are sent to Europe; Where the demand for “bioenergy” fuels is high.

Infrastructure Development in Selva Maya in the Yucatan

Deforestation of Mexico

More than 750 square kilometers of Mexico’s Mayan forests are lost annually; The main reasons for this destruction are cattle breeding, machine farming, family farms and fire. Proposed railway projects can lead to more cleanup.

Cleaning in South America

Deforestation in South America
From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Growing and cultivating livestock, mainly beef and soybeans, keep the deforestation fire burning. Since 1985, almost 22 acres of pristine forest football fields have been destroyed every minute.

Amazon jungles

Amazon Deforestation

In the 1960s, the Amazon was the center of deforestation; Rainforests are being turned over to support industries such as cattle breeding and soybean cultivation. There is a risk of turning this area into a tropical plain.


Deforestation of Paraguay

It has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. About 40 percent of the country’s Gran Chaco forest – a dry expanse of thorny trees, shrubs and grass – has been cultivated since 1985.


European Deforestation
From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Annual death rates for all major tree species on the continent are rising due to drought, heat waves and pest infestations.

Single crop cultivation in Scandinavia

Scandinavian deforestation

Ancient and pristine northern forests have been replaced in many areas by single-tree fields to provide primary resources for the timber, pulp and paper industries. Sweden has cut down 17% of its tree cover since 2000, but is actively restoring it.

Re-growth in Eastern Europe

Deforestation of Eastern Europe

Many forests grew back after the fall of the Soviet Union, when privatized and unprofitable farms were abandoned. Almost 90% of the areas whose forests were destroyed in 1995 were rehabilitated by 2012.

Development in Africa

Deforestation of Africa
From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Small farms are a major factor in deforestation, but new land fever from foreign investors and population growth pressures are increasing deforestation.

West Africa

Deforestation of West Africa

Cocoa cultivation has devastating effects; Especially on Ivory Coast, where it has lost more than 80 percent of its tree cover since the 1970s. Without the trees that regulate the climate, coastal storms would cause more damage.

Congo Watershed

Deforestation of Central Africa

Deforestation in the second largest rainforest on earth is mainly due to agriculture based on manual deforestation. Road lengths in Central Africa’s timber areas have doubled since the early 2000s.


Deforestation of Madagascar

The island nation has lost almost half of its natural forest cover since the 1950s due to the illegal harvesting of rare and expensive woods, such as reswood and ebony. The value of illegal logging and its global supply chain is estimated at $ 152 billion a year.

Deforestation and growth in Asia

Deforestation in Asia
From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Forest cover has increased in China, South Korea and Vietnam due to government programs, but the cultivation of palm oil and rubber continues to destroy forests in the area.


Russian deforestation

No country has lost more of its pristine forests than Russia. Threats include infrastructure development and fires, even in the northern snow forests above the Arctic Circle. In 2021, about 190,000 square kilometers of forest burned here.


China Deforestation

Timber bans and tree planting projects have been the cause of the world’s largest afforestation effort. In 2020, forest cover reached 23%; 6% more than in 1990.


Indonesia Deforestation

The world’s largest palm oil grower has reduced its deforestation rate since 2016. Legal deadlines for clearing the main forest, revoking palm oil cultivation licenses, and using better fire detection methods have helped.


Ocean Deforestation
From left to right: rate of deforestation; Protected forests; The area of ​​continuous virgin forests

Fires, logging and agriculture are the main causes of deforestation. Australia has lost almost half of its forest cover in the last 200 years.

Australian fires

Deforestation Australia
Forests destroyed in fires from 2001 to 2020

Uncontrolled fires in 2019 and 2020 burned 340 million square kilometers of forest and caused $ 2.7 billion in damage. Warmer, drier climates can limit the ability of eucalyptus forests to regrow and store carbon.

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