Study: How much rainforest is being destroyed?

Mongabay discusses how much rainforest is being destroyed.

  • In December 2019, Mongabay published a review of decade in tropical forests. The analysis wasn’t fully complete because forest loss data for 2019 hadn’t yet been released.
  • Last week, the University of Maryland (UMD) and World Resources Institute (WRI) published the 2019 data, which showed that 3.75 million hectares of primary forest were cleared during the year.
  • That brings the total tropical primary forest loss since 2002 to 60 million hectares, an area larger than the combined land mass of the states of California and Missouri.
  • However the 2019 numbers may not capture the full extent of loss due to the extent of deforestation that occurred in the Amazon during the later part of the year.

Primary forests in the tropics are declining at an accelerating rate according to analysis of satellite data released last week by the University of Maryland (UMD) and World Resources Institute (WRI). Since 2002, the tropics lost more than 60 million hectares of primary forests, an area larger than the combined land mass of the states of California and Missouri or the island nation of Madagascar.

This post’s primary function is to provide some charts highlighting some of the key primary forest trends in the new data set. For additional context on tropical deforestation, trends in rainforests over the past 20 years, and the new UMD/WRI data presented on Global Forest Watch, please see:

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