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    Deforestation:
    11 facts you need to know

    The causes of deforestation — food, firewood, mineral extraction, unsustainable agricultural expansion — continue unabated around the world.

    1. Satellite image of deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo © Conservation International/photo by Olaf Zerbock

      One South Carolina, every year
      According to satellite data, tropical forests are being destroyed at a rate of about 8 million hectares (31,000 square miles) a year — an area equivalent in size to the state of South Carolina or the Czech Republic.


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    2. Slash and burning forest for farmland in Madagascar © Conservation International/photo by Haroldo Castro

      Fourteen Manhattans, every day
      Despite their immense value, since the 1960s, nearly half of the world’s rainforests have been lost. Every day, about 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of rainforest — an area nearly 14 times the size of Manhattan — are burned around the world.​


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    3. Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo © Conservation International/photo by Olaf Zerbock​​

      Every single minute
      About 36 football fields’ worth of trees are lost every minute due to deforestation.​


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    4. Landscape near Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. © Kate Evans/CIFOR

      Brazil under siege
      In 2015, nearly 6,000 square kilometers (3,600 square miles) of forests — the size of Cyprus or the state of Maine — were lost in 2015 in the Brazilian Amazon alone​, cut or burned to build ranches, croplands and roads.


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    5. Central Aceh Climate Change Adaptation Project, Indonesia © Conservation International/photo by Terry Hills​

      15 million acres in Indonesia
      Indonesia has the highest deforestation rate in the world, losing 15 million acres of forest between 2000 and 2012.

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    1. Cattle in Brazil © Conservation International/photo by Peggy Poncelet

      80% due to agriculture
      Unsustainable agricultural expansion is the direct driver​ for around 80 percent of deforestation worldwide. Mining, infrastructure and urban expansion are the next most prominent drivers.


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    2. Road to Nimba, Liberia in great condition. © Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans

      US$ 200 billion market
      Forest products account for about 1 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, and the total global market for commercial wood products — including logs, lumber, panels, pulp and paper — is more than US$ 200 billion per year.​


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    3. Man in forest with binoculars © Conservation International

      1 billion people
      More than 1 billion rural people depend on forests to some extent, and over 90 percent of people living in extreme poverty depend on forests for all or part of their livelihoods.


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    4. East Nimba Nature Reserve forest, Liberia. © Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans

      11% of emissions
      When forests are cleared, they emit carbon dioxide. Eleven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans can be blamed on deforestation — equivalent to the emissions from all the cars and trucks on Earth.


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    5. Beiradao, a slum along Jari's river margins in Brazil. © CI/Enrico Bernard

      Increasing pressure
      By 2050, the global demand for food could double. A more sustainable alternative is using existing farmland more efficiently, rather than clear more forests to grow food.​


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    6. Wiew from a boat of the amazon river basin, Vilcabamba-Amboro Corridor, Peru © Conservation International/photo by Haroldo Castro

      What are the effects of deforestation?
      Forests are vital for food, water and livelihoods — and they affect you, whether you know it or not. Read “Forest conservation: 14 things you need to know​” to learn more.​​​


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    CI’s solutions

    The value of the services that forests provide is immense, yet it remains largely invisible. When this value is invisible, forests lose: They cannot compete against the short-term windfall of timber or newly cleared land for agriculture.​

    Conservation International works to show that forests are worth more standing than cut down. By identifying the full values of forests, we can create powerful incentives to ensure that they remain standing and can continue to support us.

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    EditItem Title:Amazonia
    EditItem Link:/amazonia[Optional]
    EditItem Text:Conservation International is working to achieve zero net deforestation in Amazonia by 2020 to protect essential resources such as freshwater and carbon storage; help vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change; and increase prosperity for local people.
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    EditItem Title:REDD+
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    EditItem Text:The landmark Paris Agreement explicitly endorsed a nature-based initiative called REDD+ (“red plus”), short for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation,” which provides financial incentives for communities and countries to keep forests standing, thus reducing carbon emissions caused by deforestation.
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    EditItem Title:Mapping natural capital
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    EditItem Text:“Natural capital” is the source of the benefits that nature provides, such as fresh water, flood control and forest products (including cancer-treating drugs and other medicines). Determining the location of essential natural capital is the first step in helping a country account for the full value of nature and incorporate that into its sustainable development plans.
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    EditItem Title:Valuing and accounting for natural capital
    EditItem Link:/projects/Pages/Valuing-and-Accounting-for-Natural-Capital.aspx[Optional]
    EditItem Text:Natural capital supports human and financial capital: When climate change threatens nature, societies and economies are threatened, too. Conservation International is helping businesses quantify their impacts and reliance on natural capital to ensure can continue to provide into the future.
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    EditItem Title:San Martín, Peru
    EditItem Link:/alto-mayo[Optional]
    EditItem Text:CI works with San Martín’s indigenous peoples, exchanging traditional and science-based knowledge to help develop sustainable forestry practices. Our initiatives are designed to enhance the benefits nature provides that are essential to sustain agriculture, tourism, energy and other economic activities.
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