Knowledge - RISC

Forest cover and human survival

Created By RISC | 4 months ago

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As we saw in the last article (https://bit.ly/3qqPepV), forest covered 31-32% of Thailand's 10 years ago. Let’s now look at data from around the world. ​

In 2020, the world had about 40 million sq km of forest (about 4 times the size of China) covering about 31% of its land. This tree cover was 93% natural woodland and 7% cultivated forest. Here are ASEAN’s 5 most forested locations:

- Laos is 82.1% forest (27,527 sq m/person). ​
- Brunei is 72.1% forest (8,952 sq m/person). ​
- Malaysia is 67.6% forest (7,145 sq m/person). ​
- Cambodia is 52.9% forest (5,748 sq m/person). ​
- Indonesia is 49.8% forest (3,387 sq m/person). ​

Thailand ranks 8th in the world, with only 32.2% forest cover (2,378 sq m/person). ​

Over the last 30 years (1990-2020), world forest acreage has continued to shrink, in 1990-2000 by 78,000 sq km/year, in 2000-10 by 52,000 sq km/year, and in 2010-20 by 47,000 sq km/year. We continue to lose forest but the rate is slowing. ​

The world, though many natural events, now sees the importance of forests for food, ecosystems, biodiversity, water cycles, carbon absorption. But we must all focus on expanding forest areas. Thailand's 20-year national strategic plan targets forests covering 40% of land (up from about 31% now). Government agencies, businesses, and citizens must work together to increase forest to achieve this objective. ​

Story by Thanawat Jinjaruk, Senior Researcher, Environment Division, RISC ​

References:
Forest Land Management Office, Royal Forest Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. 2021. ​
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (2021). The Global Forest Goals Report 2021  ​
FAO. 2020. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020  ​

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