Global rainforest loss continues at rate of 10 football pitches a minute

The destruction of the world’s most pristine rainforests continued at a relentless rate in 2023, despite dramatic falls in forest loss in the Brazilian and Colombian Amazon, new figures show.

An area nearly the size of Switzerland was cleared from previously undisturbed rainforests last year, totalling 37,000 sq km (14,200 sq miles), according to figures compiled by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the University of Maryland. This is a rate of 10 football pitches a minute, often driven by more land being brought under agricultural cultivation around the world.

While Brazil and Colombia recorded large drops in forest loss of 36% and 49% respectively, under the environmental policies of presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Gustavo Petro, those falls were offset by big increases in Bolivia, Laos, Nicaragua and other countries.