US & Canada Lose Higher Percentage of Forests Than Brazil

fallen log photo

photo: Owen Renn via flickr.

All I can say is wow! Mongabay is highlighting a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which reveals that between 2000 and 2005 over one million square kilometers of forest were chopped down worldwide, with both the United States and Canada losing a greater percentage of forest than the poster children of tree destruction, Brazil and Indonesia. Brazil Has Highest Area Loss, But Average Percentage
There is a little bit of stats parsing going on here: Looking at the seven nations which have more than one million square kilometers of forest still remaining--that's Brazil, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Russia, and the United States--Brazil still led the pack in terms of area cleared, with about 33,000 square kilometers of both rainforest and tropical dry forest cleared per year, for a total of 165,000 square kilometers lost. That represents 3.6% of it's total forest cover at the start of the period examined.

However, though Canada and the United States lost less forest cover by area (160,000 and 120,000 square kilometers, respectively), in percentage terms Canada lost 5.2% of it's total and the US lost 6% of total forest cover.

Keep in mind, the global average for the time period was 3.5%.

The main drivers of forest loss in the US during this time period were fire and better infestation in Alaska and the western states, "large-scale logging in the southeast, along the western coast, and in the Midwest."

US Southeast Among Highest Rates of Global Deforestation
The report concludes,

The often publicized phenomenon of forest conversion within the humid tropics is observed in our results, but significant [gross forest cover loss] is evident in all biomes. For example, rates of GFCL in regions such as the southeast United States are among the highest globally.

Read more, about the distribution of forest loss by ecosystem: Mongabay

Here's the original paper: Quantification of global gross forest cover loss
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More on Deforestation:
10 Countries With the Highest Deforestation Rates in the World
New Google Earth Layer Shows Global Deforestation
Stopping Deforestation, Greening Agriculture Better Than Carbon Capture & Storage

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