Rainforest Deforestation

Deforestation overview

The Earth was covered by approximately 14.8 billion acres of forest 8,000 years ago. As a repercussion of human exploitation, only 8.6 billion acres now remain - the highest rates of deforestation occurred during the last 50 years. For example, between 1980-1990, Brazil lost 91.4 million acres of tropical forest, roughly the total area of North and South Dakota.

  • 1

    Venezuela

  • 2

    Columbia

  • 3

    Brazil

  • 4

    Bolivia

  • Destroyed since 1990

  • Forest cover 2010

  • Forest cover 2030

  • Total area

  • 40% of the amazon rainforest will be gone by the year 2050.

Deforestation drivers

There are many different causes for deforestation and they vary widely from location to location. The top 5 include logging (both legal and illegal), industrialization, agriculture, oil exploitation and human disasters.

40%
Small-holder agriculture
25%
Cattle pasture
20%
Large-scale agriculture
10%
Logging operations
5%
Other causes

Share of tropcial deforestation

In the period from 2000 to 2005 10.4 million hectares of tropical forest were permanently destroyed each year, an increase since the 1990-2000 period, when around 10.16 million hectares of forest were lost.

  • 1
    Brazil
  • 2
    Indonesia
  • 3
    Myanmar
  • 4
    Zambia
  • 5
    Tanzania
  • 6
    Nigeria
  • 7
    Congo
  • 8
    Zimbabwe
  • 9
    Venezuela
  • 10
    Others
10.4 million hectares/year

Rainforest diversity

Tropical rainforests support the greatest diversity of living organisms on Earth. Although they cover less than 2 percent of Earths surface, they house an estimated 50 percent of all life on the planet.

  • Rainforests contain 170,000 of the world’s 250,000 known plant species.
  • Brazil has 487 tree species in a single hectare rainforest.
  • A single square mile of rainforest often houses more than 50,000 insect species.

Let’s save the rainforest!