New study finds global forest area has declined by 81 million hectares from 1960 to 2019

A team of researchers have found that the global forest area has declined by 81.7 million hectares from 1960 to 2019, equivalent to an area of more than 10% of the entire Borneo Island, with gross forest loss (437.3 million hectares) outweighing gross forest gain (355.6 million hectares).

The researchers explain, “the continuous loss and degradation of forests affect the integrity of forest ecosystems, reducing their ability to generate and provide essential services and sustain biodiversity. It also impacts the lives of at least 1.6 billion people worldwide, predominantly in developing countries, who depend on forests for various purposes.”

“Despite this spatial pattern of forest loss occurring primarily in the less developed countries, the role of more developed nations in this said forest loss also needs to be studied more deeply. With the strengthening of forest conservation in more developed countries, forest loss is displaced to the less developed countries, especially in the tropics.”