Deforestation facts

Agricultural expansion, illegal logging, mining and urbanization continue to drive deforestation around the world.

Globally, forests are under threat — large-scale efforts are needed to protect these ecosystems and the many benefits they provide.


Share these facts about deforestation:


Fact 1: One Belgium, every year

According to satellite dataJump to references1, Jump to references2, from 2002 through 2019, global tropical forest loss averaged 3.6 million hectares (9 million acres) a year — an area larger than Belgium. Tweet this fact


Fact 2: Half gone

More than half the world’s tropical forests have been destroyed since the 1960sJump to references3, and tropical forests lost 10 percent more primary rainforest in 2022 than in 2021.Jump to references4 Tweet this fact


Fact 3: Every minute

In 2022, the world lost 11 soccer fields worth of primary rainforest every minute.Jump to references4 Tweet this fact


Fact 4: Brazil under siege

Between 2001 and 2022, Brazil lost 661,000 square kilometers (255,214 square miles) of tree cover — an area as big as the state of Texas — to deforestation.Jump to references5 Tweet this fact


Fact 5: Forests fall in Ghana

With little primary forest remaining, Ghana saw a 71 percent rise in forest loss in 2022 — the highest proportion of any tropical country.Jump to references4 Other countries with the largest loss of primary forests were Bolivia, Angola, Cameroon and Colombia. Tweet this fact



Forests are vital to the health of the planet — providing our air, food and water. As trees disappear, deforestation will cost us all. Your donation will help us support communities around the world as they protect forests.



Fact 6: 90% due to agriculture

Agricultural expansion — such as cattle ranching, soy cultivation and oil palm plantations — drives 90 percent of deforestation worldwide.Jump to references6 Tweet this fact


Fact 7: 33 million jobs

33 million people (about twice the population of New York) rely on the forest sector, both formal and informal, for their jobs. Each year, the forest sector generates more than US$ 1.5 trillion in global GDP.Jump to references Tweet this fact


Fact 8: 1.6 billion people

Deforestation impacts 1.6 billion rural people worldwide who rely on forests for their livelihoodsJump to references3 — most live in extreme poverty. Tweet this fact


Fact 9: 12% of emissions

Forests release carbon dioxide when they are cleared or burnt. About 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestationJump to references7 — roughly equivalent to emissions from all the cars and trucks on Earth. Tweet this fact


Fact 10: Increasing pressure

By 2050, the global demand for food could double. Using existing farmland more efficiently could feed more people without clearing additional forests and wetlands.Jump to references8 Tweet this fact


Fact 11: 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.​​​ Tweet this fact



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  1. Global Forest Watch. Global Primary Forest Loss. Retrieved March, 2020, from
  2. Weisse, M. and Goldman, E.D. (2020, June 2). We Lost a Football Pitch of Primary Rainforest Every 6 Seconds in 2019. World Resources Institute.
  3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. (2021, February). Deforestation and forest degradation.
  4. Weisse, M., Goldman, L., Carter, S. (2023, June 27). Tropical Primary Forest Loss Worsened in 2022, Despite International Commitments to End Deforestation. Global Forest Watch.
  1. Global Forest Watch. Brazil. Retrieved November 13, 2023, from
  2. FAO. 2022. The State of the World’s Forests 2022. Forest pathways for green recovery and building inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies. Rome, FAO.
  3. Brack, Duncan. (2019). Background Analytical Study: Forests and Climate Change. United Nations Forum on Forests.
  4. Tilman, D., Balzer, C., Hill, J., & Befort, B. L. (2011). Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(50), 20260–20264.