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32. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - Global Forest Resource Assessment 2020

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020), a comprehensive report on the status and trends in world’s forests, land tenure and access rights, sustainable forest management, legal and institutional frameworks for forest conservation, and sustainable use of forest resources. The FRA examines the status and trends of forest resources in 236 countries and regions over the period from 1990 to 2020. A summary of FRA 2020 is also available in digital versionat http://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/2020/en/.

According to the report, the forest area is now 4.06 billion hectares, accounting for about one-third (31%) of the world's land. Although forests are not geographically distributed equally, this area is equivalent to an average of 0.52 ha per person. Tropical forests account for the largest proportion (45%), followed by boreal forests, temperate forests, and subtropical forests. More than half (54%) of the world's forests are concentrated in five countries, namely, the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, USA and China.

The report also provides an update on the global rate of forest loss. Although the forest area is decreasing globally, the rate of forest loss is slowing down. Since 1990, the world has lost 178 million hectares of forest area, comparable to the land size of Libya. Between 1990 and 2020, net depreciation rates have moderated overall due to deforestation trends in some countries, afforestation and expansion of natural forests in others. Africa had the highest annual deforestation rates between 2010-2020, followed by South America.

The world's forest area consists of 93% (3.75 billion ha) naturally regenerating forests and 7% (290 million ha) of planted areas. The plantation forests cover about 131 million ha, which is 3 percent of the global forest area and 45 percent of the total area of planted forests.

As to disturbances affecting the forests, the report indicates that fire is a prevalent disturbance in the tropics. In 2015, about 98 million ha of forest, corresponding to 4% of the total forest area at that time, were affected by forest fires. More than two-thirds of the affected forests were in Africa and South America. Also in 2015, insect pests and severe weather events damaged 40 million ha of forests, mainly in the temperate and boreal domains.



FAO A Fresh Perspective Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 

FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 Key Findings 


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Research Strategy Office)