The total global forest area stands at some 4.06 billion hectares but continues to decrease, according to FAO's latest report.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) latest Global Forest Resources Assessment report (FRA 2020), published on Tuesday, aims to turn the tide on deforestation, or the conversion of forest to other uses such as agriculture.
According to the report, the total global forest area stands at some 4.06 billion hectares but continues to decrease.
FAO estimates that 420 million hectares of forest have been lost worldwide through deforestation since 1990.
The top countries for average annual net losses of forest area over the last ten years, are Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Angola, Tanzania, Paraguay, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bolivia, and Mozambique.
However, the rate of forest loss has declined substantially. In the most recent five-year period (2015–2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, down from 12 million ha in 2010–2015.
Also, the area of forest under protection has reached roughly 726 million hectares: nearly 200 million more than in 1990, according to FRA 2020.
Still, there is cause for great concern, according to FAO. Senior Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen, the report’s Coordinator, warned that global targets related to sustainable forest management are at risk.
“We need to step up efforts to halt deforestation to unlock the full potential of forests in contributing to sustainable food production, poverty alleviation, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change while sustaining the production of all the other goods and services they provide,” he said.
The UN agency believes forests are at the heart of global efforts to achieve sustainable development that benefits both people and the planet.
For the first time since 1990, the FRA 2020 report -published every five years- contains an online interactive platform with detailed regional and global analyses for nearly 240 countries and territories.