# Empirical View
# Very Long-Term Perspective on Deforestation in Specific Regions
# New Zealand vegetation: Pre-Polynesian (700 CE), Pre-Classical Maori (1200 CE), Pre-European (1800 CE) and Present (1974 CE) – Williams (2006)1
# Population density, deforestation, and soil erosion associated with long-term Maya settlement on the terrestrial environment of the Peten lowlands, c. 10,000–0 BP – Williams (2006)3
Easter Islands was treeless and the inhabitants in a miserable state when European discoverers got there for the first time.
# Rebirth of Forests
For millennia wherever humans settled they depleted forrests. This is not the case anymore in some countries of the world. Higher yields and other factors made it possible to preserve forests and in some countries to increase the forest area. Sustainability was reached in these places.
# Estimated forest volume and annual growth and drain in the United States (in billions of ft3), 1909–1977 – Williams (2006)4
|1952 F.S.||1962 F.S.||1970 F.S.||1977 F.S.|
|Stock of all standing timber||545||746||486||603||648||680||711|
|Growth per annum||6.75||6||8.9||13.9||16.7||19.8||21.7|
|Drain: Firewood and lumber||23||24.3||14.5||11.8||12||14||14.2|
|Drain: Fire and insects||±2.0||1.7||1.8||3.9||4.3||4||3.9|
|Ratio: growth to drain||1:3.5||1:4.3||1:1.8||1:1.13||1:0.97||1:0.90||1:0.83|
# Global Forest Cover Change over the Last Centuries
# The State of the World’s Forest Today
# Recent Forest Cover Change in Specific Regions
# Predeforestation area of forest, cerrado, and water, and deforested and isolated and edge forest in Brazilian Amazon (in 1000 square kilometers) – Williams (2006)12
|Forest||Cerrado||Water||Total Area||Deforested||Isolated and Edge||Total Disturbed||Deforested||Isolated and Edge||Total Disturbed||As % Total Area|
|Mato Grosso||527.6||368.7||4.2||900.5||21.1||26.2||47.3||47.6||73.7||121.3||13.4||Mato Grosso|
Deforestation data is available in a special Google Project here. This is including Landsat Annual Timelapse 1984-2012 of Amazon Deforestation (it also includes data on forest cover change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2000-2010)).
# African Forests
# Gross and net deforestation areas and annual rates measured from the sample of satellite images (areas in 1000 ha) for three regions, 1990-2000 and 2000-2010 – Mayaux et al. (2013)14
|gross deforestation||annual rate (%)||net deforestation||annual rate (%)||gross deforestation||annual rate (%)||net deforestation||annual rate (%)|
|Central Africa (n=173)||345.9 ± 54||0.19||285.4 ± 36.5||0.16||187.6 ± 22.2||0.11||181.5 ± 39.8||0.1||Central Africa (n=173)|
|West Africa (n=67)||278.7 ± 77.9||1.09||233.5 ± 108.3||0.91||82.1 ± 14.1||0.35||70.4 ± 23.9||0.3||West Africa (n=67)|
|Madagascar (n=16)||75.8 ± 25.8||1.69||728 ± 32.8||1.63||40.5 ± 18.2||1.08||36.4 ± 24.8||0.97||Madagascar (n=16)|
|total three regions||700.4||0.33||591.9||0.28||310.2||0.15||288.3||0.14||total three regions|
# Data Sources
A very important publication by the FAO on the topic are the State of the World’s Forests that is available here.
The FAO database on Forestry is online here. It includes several datasets for countries and world regions since 1961. The dataset is very comprehensive and includes many forestry products.
FAO data – for example data on forest coverage (%) – is available through Gapminder (here). At Gapminder – where also data on primary forests, wood coverage or wood removal is available – the data can be plotted against a second variable.
Annual data – since 1990 – data on ‘Forest area (% of land area)’ (by country) is available in the World Development Indicators (WDI) published by the World Bank (here).
Annual data – since 1990 – on ‘Forest area (sq. km)’ (by country) is available in the World Development Indicators (WDI) published by the World Bank (here).
Other Specialised Institutions
The Center for Global Development’s FORMA (or Forest Monitoring for Action) allows close tracking and analysis of global deforestation trends. It is online here.
The IIASA Global Forest Database is online here.
The Eurostat website ‘Statistics Explained’ publishes up-to-date statistical information on forestry is online here.