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DEFORESTATION RATES


By Rhett Butler   |  Last updated January 11, 2016

Deforestation data can be highly contentious due to variances in how forest cover is measured, how deforestation is defined, and whether or not forest regrowth and plantations are incorporated. For example, different bodies use different definitions of forest cover and deforestation. Some may refer to "gross forest loss", which looks at total loss of tree cover whether or not it is offset by forest gain in the form of secondary forest recovery, reforestation, or afforestation. Others may consider only "net forest loss", whereby deforestation is offset by forest gain. For this reason, consistent data sources are important to tracking forest loss over time. For example, 1990s data from the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and 2000s data from the University of Maryland are not directly comparable. If one wants to compare the 1990s deforestation rate with the 2000s deforestation rate, a single source should be used. And even in that case, it is critical to look at the methodology used between the time periods — FAO data is not always comparable over long time frames due to changes in various definitions.

Gross forest loss

This table below show gross forest loss from a data set developed by researchers led by the University of Maryland's Matthew Hansen. Gross forest loss includes all sources of forest loss from clearing of natural forest to cyclical harvesting of plantations. For that reason, "forest loss" may not accurately reflect deforestation in countries with high plantation cover. For example, roughly 25 percent of Vietnam's tree cover is plantations, meaning that harvesting of industrial timber plantations shows up as "forest loss".

Country30% forest coverPercent forest cover5-year Forest loss (2010-2014)Loss as % of 2009 cover10-year Forest loss 2005-2014Loss as % of 2004 cover5-yr vs 10-yr changeLoss 2001-2014
Angola55,315,47444.4%868,2411.6%1,453,8542.6%19.4%1,740,011
Anguilla2,12127.1%50.2%311.5%-67.4%45
Antigua and Barbuda19,32846.1%1220.6%3882.0%-37.3%473
Bahamas303,56625.8%3,4551.2%9,2993.1%-25.7%11,296
Bangladesh1,959,60115.1%29,5291.5%54,0262.8%9.3%69,122
Barbados5,23712.1%1593.1%2324.5%37.6%267
Belize1,748,54480.9%78,5494.7%121,6667.1%29.1%154,508
Benin168,5051.5%6,5374.6%19,99312.7%-34.6%31,382
Bhutan2,580,57164.6%7,6940.3%11,5580.4%33.1%13,643
Bolivia64,520,86260.0%1,455,8352.3%2,707,9714.2%7.5%3,394,108
Brazil519,191,66461.9%11,738,6372.4%24,986,0284.9%-6.0%38,336,733
British Virgin Islands7,45348.7%230.3%480.6%-2.9%60
Brunei527,81392.2%8,0451.6%15,3702.9%4.7%19,700
Burundi538,38921.6%6,7001.3%12,7742.4%4.9%17,120
Cambodia8,810,80049.6%939,46711.5%1,366,81715.9%37.5%1,586,252
Cameroon31,467,69268.0%362,3831.2%540,6991.7%34.0%657,057
Cape Verde7,3531.9%400.6%600.8%33.0%100
Cayman Islands13,44851.5%1150.9%2221.7%3.3%302
Central African Republic47,070,87076.0%248,2240.5%452,8791.0%9.6%546,921
Chad409,4370.3%8,7392.2%17,6064.3%-0.7%21,048
Colombia81,779,08372.6%918,3791.1%2,035,0002.5%-9.7%2,822,694
Comoros134,78981.9%3,2242.4%3,5492.6%81.7%3,694
Costa Rica3,912,90776.8%50,8181.3%133,2283.4%-23.7%180,006
Cote d'Ivoire14,872,64446.6%758,2385.4%1,248,6348.6%21.5%1,650,236
Cuba4,013,55736.8%45,3551.2%111,7122.8%-18.8%174,221
Curacao5,26212.3%170.3%360.7%-3.6%39
Democratic Republic of the Congo199,224,29587.1%3,891,7402.0%6,332,6193.2%22.9%7,977,010
Dominica70,92294.6%3150.4%6010.8%5.0%742
Dominican Republic2,576,58553.9%67,8302.8%157,9716.3%-14.1%209,756
East Timor726,03248.7%5,8770.8%15,1402.1%-22.4%20,174
Ecuador19,064,82075.0%225,1811.2%472,0682.5%-4.6%598,816
El Salvador988,93448.9%12,5231.3%33,6003.5%-25.5%58,305
Equatorial Guinea2,659,05699.1%41,7821.6%58,3332.2%43.3%67,303
Ethiopia12,040,79210.7%136,3781.1%243,2482.0%12.1%295,611
Fiji1,582,74786.8%9,9590.6%19,8251.3%0.5%25,279
French Guiana8,162,64798.9%22,2310.3%39,0200.5%13.9%51,244
Gabon24,698,65994.4%132,4910.5%221,6310.9%19.6%277,413
Gambia4,5920.4%1202.9%50011.2%-51.9%622
Ghana6,955,60929.9%267,1084.0%451,8656.7%18.2%616,484
Grenada28,57280.9%3461.3%6512.3%6.3%1,452
Guadeloupe94,72958.0%8480.9%1,5441.6%9.8%2,184
Guatemala7,693,75371.3%288,1064.1%732,1719.9%-21.3%995,707
Guinea8,159,12833.5%300,7603.8%409,3345.1%47.0%483,224
Guinea-Bissau1,068,75432.3%43,6964.2%66,8906.3%30.7%79,883
Guyana18,995,49191.0%46,7750.2%81,5180.4%14.8%107,866
Haiti857,98931.9%15,1001.8%25,0292.9%20.7%33,070
Honduras7,740,00769.4%219,2023.0%438,5305.8%0.0%572,519
India38,813,95312.4%428,0471.1%796,8132.1%7.4%1,034,010
Indonesia160,978,09685.8%7,718,1135.1%15,069,6539.6%2.4%18,507,771
Jamaica768,47170.1%11,0021.5%28,2323.7%-22.1%36,057
Kenya3,317,3835.8%84,0492.7%180,4565.6%-6.8%250,306
Laos19,118,74383.9%842,1104.6%1,392,1127.4%21.0%1,635,813
Liberia9,384,70498.2%394,3344.3%597,4696.4%32.0%711,477
Madagascar17,140,68829.1%1,015,8256.3%1,629,1069.7%24.7%1,971,473
Malawi1,521,89516.2%50,8333.5%87,0905.8%16.7%106,593
Malaysia29,415,65089.9%2,347,5539.0%4,452,51715.8%5.4%5,632,714
Maldives5,80126.5%230.4%490.8%-4.5%63
Martinique74,64067.5%8241.1%1,7532.4%-6.0%2,450
Mauritius71,27738.4%1,4142.0%2,2933.3%23.3%3,052
Mexico53,182,95227.4%878,0171.7%1,948,1253.7%-9.9%2,587,661
Micronesia6,17769.5%771.2%771.2%100.0%77
Montserrat4,58945.9%1192.6%1783.9%33.8%197
Mozambique28,907,58737.3%810,6922.9%1,694,0335.9%-4.3%2,048,679
Myanmar42,859,26064.6%1,038,3852.5%1,739,7824.1%19.4%2,030,101
Nepal5,160,83435.0%12,0870.2%30,0810.6%-19.6%38,505
New Caledonia1,440,56677.0%6,2110.4%12,2900.9%1.1%16,009
Nicaragua7,776,95065.6%394,6235.4%754,0619.9%4.7%920,393
Nigeria10,030,68611.1%218,4672.2%335,2523.4%30.3%439,032
Palau41,16390.2%2060.5%4701.1%-12.2%645
Panama5,699,91976.8%80,1501.5%224,3584.0%-28.6%289,942
Papua New Guinea42,940,88893.4%335,4080.8%600,2981.4%11.7%781,082
Paraguay24,296,59161.3%2,033,9279.3%3,600,57615.4%13.0%4,460,595
Peru78,069,51660.9%935,9811.2%1,608,2222.1%16.4%1,949,886
Philippines18,600,33563.6%336,6661.9%609,9673.3%10.4%761,175
Puerto Rico523,66558.8%3,8860.8%9,6221.9%-19.2%14,561
Republic of Congo26,386,12077.9%218,6720.8%325,8641.2%34.2%409,526
Rwanda496,55320.8%9,2531.9%14,7283.0%25.7%19,357
Saint Kitts and Nevis13,25650.7%500.4%1591.2%-36.4%281
Saint Lucia50,73384.0%3060.6%6171.2%-1.0%719
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines29,14675.2%1450.5%2670.9%8.6%313
Sao Tome and Principe14,20788.5%- 0.0%- 0.0%#DIV/0!77
Senegal39,9370.2%1,0412.7%1,7734.5%17.5%2,176
Seychelles6,20436.1%40.1%40.1%78.9%5
Sierra Leone5,617,47778.0%342,6506.3%451,3988.1%51.8%498,424
Singapore18,76829.4%2761.5%7013.8%-21.4%922
Solomon Islands2,736,45898.0%42,2021.6%73,6662.7%14.6%85,617
Sri Lanka3,940,05860.5%53,8191.4%96,9482.5%11.0%112,884
Suriname13,949,66396.6%55,1020.4%80,5170.6%36.9%97,893
Tanzania26,423,10329.8%774,3013.0%1,380,6995.3%12.2%1,699,305
Thailand19,962,44339.4%530,9972.8%1,020,5675.2%4.1%1,267,835
Togo558,9929.8%8,4621.6%22,1434.0%-23.6%31,755
Trinidad and Tobago391,86976.4%6,6031.7%13,3433.4%-1.0%17,359
Turks and Caicos Islands10,84512.4%940.9%3613.3%-47.9%395
Uganda7,768,51037.8%214,8972.8%369,3834.8%16.4%439,968
US Virgin Islands19,00954.4%1460.8%3912.1%-25.5%608
Vanuatu1,182,55198.0%2,8040.2%4,6890.4%19.6%5,830
Venezuela56,531,45062.8%426,4540.8%984,2401.8%-13.3%1,376,709
Vietnam16,577,66151.3%782,9244.9%1,290,4847.9%21.3%1,504,547
Zambia24,088,37432.7%542,4442.3%878,2723.7%23.5%1,025,306
Zimbabwe1,414,1603.7%47,2973.6%108,0667.8%-12.5%140,022


U.N. forest loss


The table below contains data from the U.N. FAO 2015 Forest Resources Assessment. Unlike the table above, units are 1,000 hectares.

Forest/land areaForest areaChange 2010-2015Change 2005-2015--
UN Forest Cover201519902000200520102015Loss/GainLoss/GainLoss/GainLoss/Gain5-yr vs 10-yr changeChange 1990-2015
Country%(1000 ha)(1000 ha)(1000 ha)(1000 ha)(1000 ha)(1000 ha)% of 2010 cover(1000 ha)% of 2005 cover%(1000 ha)
Angola 46.46097659728591045848057856-624-1.1%-1248-2.1%0%-3120
Bahamas51.451551551551551500.0%00.0%-0
Bangladesh 1114941468145514421429-13-0.9%-26-1.8%0%-65
Belize 59.916161459141713911366-25-1.8%-51-3.6%-2%-250
Benin3957615061481145614311-250-5.5%-500-10.4%0%-1450
Bhutan 72.325072606265627052755501.8%993.7%1%248
Bolivia50.66279560091587345620954764-1445-2.6%-3970-6.8%-27%-8031
Brazil 59546705521274506734498458493538-4920-1.0%-13196-2.6%-25%-53167
Brunei Darussalam 72.141339738938038000.0%-9-2.3%-100%-33
Burkina Faso 19.668476248594956495350-299-5.3%-599-10.1%0%-1497
Burundi 10.7289198181253276239.1%9552.5%-52%-13
Cambodia53.6129441154610731100949457-637-6.3%-1274-11.9%0%-3487
Central African Republic 35.62256022404223262224822170-78-0.4%-156-0.7%0%-390
Colombia 52.76441761798602015863558502-133-0.2%-1699-2.8%-84%-5915
Comoros19.94945423937-2-5.1%-5-11.9%-20%-12
Congo 65.42272622556224712241122334-77-0.3%-137-0.6%12%-392
Cook Islands64141515151500.0%00.0%-1
Costa Rica54256423762491260527561515.8%26510.6%14%192
Côte d’Ivoire 32.71022210328104051040310401-20.0%-40.0%0%179
Cuba30.1205824352697293232002689.1%50318.7%7%1142
Democratic Republic of the Congo67.3160363157249155692154135152578-1557-1.0%-3114-2.0%0%-7785
Dominica57.85047464543-2-4.4%-3-6.5%33%-7
Dominican Republic 41110514861652181719831669.1%33120.0%0%878
Ecuador 50.51463113729133351294212548-394-3.0%-787-5.9%0%-2083
El Salvador 12.8377332309287265-22-7.7%-44-14.2%0%-112
Equatorial Guinea55.918601743168516261568-58-3.6%-117-6.9%-1%-292
Ethiopia11.415114137051300012296124992031.7%-501-3.9%-181%-2615
Fiji55.79539809979931017242.4%202.0%140%64
French Guiana98.682188182816881388130-8-0.1%-38-0.5%-58%-88
French Polynesia 42.35510513015515500.0%2519.2%-100%100
Gabon89.3220002200022000220002300010004.5%10004.5%100%1000
Gambia 48.844246147148048881.7%173.6%-6%46
Ghana41862789099053919593371421.5%2843.1%0%710
Guadeloupe42.57373737271-1-1.4%-2-2.7%0%-2
Guatemala3347484208393837223540-182-4.9%-398-10.1%-9%-1208
Guinea25.972646904672465446364-180-2.8%-360-5.4%0%-900
Guinea-Bissau 70.122162120207220221972-50-2.5%-100-4.8%0%-244
Guyana 841666016622166021657616526-50-0.3%-76-0.5%32%-134
Haiti3.511610910510197-4-4.0%-8-7.6%0%-19
Honduras 4181366392579251924592-600-11.6%-1200-20.7%0%-3544
India23.863939653906770969790706828921.3%29734.4%-40%6743
Indonesia5311854599409978579443291010-3422-3.6%-6847-7.0%0%-27535
Jamaica 31345341339337335-2-0.6%-4-1.2%0%-10
Kenya 7.8472435574047423044131834.3%3669.0%0%-311
Laos81.317645165261687017816187619455.3%189111.2%0%1116
Liberia 43.449294629447943294179-150-3.5%-300-6.7%0%-750
Madagascar21.41369213023128381255312473-80-0.6%-365-2.8%-56%-1219
Malawi33.438963567340232373147-90-2.8%-255-7.5%-29%-749
Malaysia 67.62237621591208902212422195710.3%13056.2%-89%-181
Mali3.966905900550551104715-395-7.7%-790-14.4%0%-1975
Martinique45.8494949494900.0%00.0%-0
Mauritania0.2415317267242225-17-7.0%-42-15.7%-19%-190
Mexico 346976067856670836649866040-458-0.7%-1043-1.6%-12%-3720
Mozambique 48.24337841188400793897237940-1032-2.6%-2139-5.3%-4%-5438
Myanmar44.23921834868333213177329041-2732-8.6%-4280-12.8%28%-10177
Nepal 25.44817390036363636363600.0%00.0%--1181
New Caledonia 45.983983983983983900.0%00.0%-0
Nicaragua 25.94514381434643114311400.0%-350-10.1%-100%-1400
Niger0.919451328126612041142-62-5.1%-124-9.8%0%-803
Nigeria 7.717234131371108990416993-2048-22.7%-4096-36.9%0%-10241
Panama 62.150404867478246994617-82-1.7%-165-3.5%-1%-423
Papua New Guinea 72.53362733600335863357333559-140.0%-27-0.1%4%-68
Paraguay 38.62115719368184751695015323-1627-9.6%-3152-17.1%3%-5834
Peru 57.87792176147755287481173973-838-1.1%-1555-2.1%8%-3948
Philippines 2765557027707468408040120017.5%96613.7%148%1485
Puerto Rico 57.9287450463479496173.5%337.1%3%209
Réunion35.2878785888800.0%33.5%-100%1
Rwanda 19.5318344385446480347.6%9524.7%-28%162
Saint Lucia33.32221212120-1-4.8%-1-4.8%100%-2
Samoa60.413017117117117100.0%00.0%-41
Sao Tome and Principe55.8565656545400.0%-2-3.6%-100%-2
Senegal4393488898867384738273-200-2.4%-400-4.6%0%-1075
Seychelles88.4414141414100.0%00.0%-0
Sierra Leone 42.53118292228242726304431811.7%2207.8%189%-74
Singapore23.4161616161600.0%00.0%-0
Solomon Islands 78.123242268224122132185-28-1.3%-56-2.5%0%-139
Somalia10.182827515713167476363-384-5.7%-768-10.8%0%-1919
Sri Lanka3322842192211821032070-33-1.6%-48-2.3%38%-214
Sudan 10.32357021826209542008219210-872-4.3%-1744-8.3%0%-4360
Suriname 95.41543015391153711535115332-19-0.1%-39-0.3%-3%-98
Tanzania525592051920499204792046060-1860-3.9%-3860-7.7%-4%-9860
Thailand 32.114005170111610016249163991500.9%2991.9%0%2394
Timor-Leste46.1966854798742686-56-7.5%-112-14.0%0%-280
Togo 3.5685486386287188-99-34.5%-198-51.3%0%-497
Trinidad and Tobago 45.724123423022623483.5%41.7%300%-7
Uganda 10.447513869342927532077-676-24.6%-1352-39.4%0%-2674
Venezuela52.95202649151477134750546683-822-1.7%-1030-2.2%60%-5343
Viet Nam 47.69363117271307714128147736454.6%169613.0%-24%5410
Zambia65.45280051134503014946848635-833-1.7%-1666-3.3%0%-4165
Zimbabwe36.42216418894172591562414062-1562-10.0%-3197-18.5%-2%-8102