Lumberjack Larry

Deforestation and the Unsustainable Use of Forests

Current Trends

  • More than one-fifth of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared since 1960. Tropical deforestation increased from 11.8 million hectares per year in the 1970s to 15.4 million hectares (0.8 percent of total natural forest cover) in the I 980s. Current rates of tropical deforestation are typically averaging about 0.7 percent per year.

  • Continuing loss of old-growth habitat in many temperate and boreal forest ecosystems, with remaining semi-natural forest covering less than 0.8 percent of the original forest in Western Europe and 1-2 percent in the United States.

  • Serious loss of forest quality in many temperate and boreal forests due to pollution and other injurious agents; the associated productivity losses in Eastern Europe alone are estimated at US$30 billion per year.

  • Forest clearing and burning currently account for between 7 and 30 percent of annual atmospheric carbon emissions