Not that the world's forests are not still being destroyed at an alarming rate (not yet the time to stop hugging trees), but there is some good news for a change: "thanks to efforts in planting new trees and restoring degraded lands as well as natural [forest] expansion in some regions, the net loss is a little lower," said Mette Loyche Wilkie, co-ordinator of the agency's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. [...] An average 7.3 million hectares was lost annually over the last five years. This was down from 8.9 million hectares (22 million acres) a year between 1990 and 2000." That's almost a 20% improvement on average. Deforestation was most extensive in South America, where an average of 4.3 million hectares (10.6 million acres) were lost annually over the last five years, followed by Africa with 4 million hectares (9.8 million acres). ::BBC, ::Deforestation of Amazon 'halved'