31 Aug '12, 8pm

World Forest Area Still on the Decline

World Forest Area Still on the Decline

Neil Palmer, International Center for Tropical Agriculture /CC BY-SA 2.0 This guest post was written by Emily E. Adams. Forests provide many important goods, such as timber and paper. They also supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation. Forests cover 31 percent of the world’s land surface, just over 4 billion hectares. (One hectare = 2.47 acres.) This is down from the pre-industrial area of 5.9 billion hectares. According to data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, deforestation was at its highest rate in the 1990s, when each year the world lost on average 16 million hectares of forest—roughly the size of the state of Michigan. At the same time, forest area expanded in some places, either thr...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/world-forest-a...

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