This is a map of the world in ‘deforestation intensity’. Please click on it to see it full size.
Please do click the image to make it fill a browser window – you cannot really appreciate it in the narrow confines of a WordPress Blog!
I find it terrifying that every major landmass (save Greenland and Antarctica) is visible in this map. I haven’t added any borders or anything else: this is purely pixels coloured according to their deforestation. With the exception of central Amazonia, and the north-western United States, every major forested area in the world is lit up in this map.
What is particularly clear in this is the global hotspots of deforestation. Malaysia, Indonesia and the ‘arc of deforestation’ in Brazil are brightly lit up, as is to a lesser extent Siberia and some parts of the USA and Canada. The temperate and boreal forests showing big changes here are probably less of a global worry: though some of this loss is due to wild fires, storms, pests and disease, much of it is natural clearing in managed plantations and the losses will be replaced. There is in fact probably a net gain in forest cover in much of the world outside the tropics. The losses in the tropics however are very concerning, as most of this forest is being replaced by agriculture or severely degraded ecosystems.
We have run an analysis of the area of forest lost in each country globally. We found that an incredible 13.4 % of Malaysia has been deforested between 2000 and 2012, 7.9 % of Indonesia, and 4.0 % of Brazil. These figures are not a proportion of forest loss, but a proportion of the whole country that has been reported as undergoing forest loss over that period.
In some countries, notably Brazil, deforestation rates have reduced recently, with Hansen et al. (2013) finding a negative trend in deforestation rates. But in others, particularly in SE Asia and Africa, rates of forest loss are actively increasing.
If you want to explore this dataset more, please visit the excellent site set up by Matt Hansen in partnership with the Google Earth Engine team at this link, where you can view the data at its full 30 m resolution. Alternatively you can also view this and other data at the Global Forest Watch site.