Forests and Deforestation

Humans have been cutting down forests for millennia. The world has lost one-third of its forests since the end of the last ice age – 10,000 years ago. Half of this loss occurred in the last century alone.

The main driver of deforestation is agriculture: humans clear forest to make space for grazing and croplands.

Global deforestation rates are still very high. Most of it occurs in the tropics where primary forests are rich in biodiversity. But rates have also passed their peak: deforestation has reversed in many countries across temperate regions, and rates have slowed in many countries across the tropics.

Finally bringing deforestation to an end is essential to protect the world’s biodiversity, and to tackle climate change.

On this page, you can find all of our data on forests and deforestation.

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Interactive Charts on Forests and Deforestation

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Hannah Ritchie, Fiona Spooner and Max Roser (2021) - “Forests and Deforestation” Published online at Retrieved from: '' [Online Resource]

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    author = {Hannah Ritchie and Fiona Spooner and Max Roser},
    title = {Forests and Deforestation},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2021},
    note = {}
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