Forests are integral to the health of our planet—they provide us with clean air and water, protect against flooding and erosion, and are home to an incredible amount of biodiversity. The world’s forests are under immense pressure from human activity, though. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the global forest area has declined by 7% since 1990. This is largely due to deforestation, which is the conversion of forested land to land that is not forested. Deforestation can happen for many reasons, including Agricultural expansion, livestock grazing, urbanization, and resource extraction (such as logging or mining). While it’s important to use forests sustainably, it’s also important to know which countries have the most forests so that we can better protect them. Here are the top 10 countries with the largest forest area in 2020.
India’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 72 Million Hectares
As of 2020, the forest area in India is estimated to be around 708,273 square kilometers which is about 21.67% of the total geographical area of the country. The forest cover in India has increased by 5,871 square kilometers since 2019. The Total Forest and Tree Resources in India are estimated to be worth US$1 trillion.
The Indian Forest Act was enacted in 1927 which provides for the management and conservation of forests in the country. The National Forest Policy was formulated in 1988 and revised in 1992. The objective of the policy is to ensure environmental stability and ecological security.
Four types of forests are found in India – tropical evergreen, deciduous, mangrove, and montane. The tropical evergreen forests are found in the Western Ghats and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The deciduous forests are found in the plains of northern and central India. The mangrove forests are found along the coastlines while the montane forests are found in the Himalayan region.
India is home to some of the world’s most endangered wildlife species including tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, etc. The Tiger Project was launched in 1973 with the aim of protecting these animals from extinction. As per data released by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), there are 2,967 tigers living in the wild as of 2018 which is an increase from 2,226 tigers living in 2014.
Peru’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 72 Million Hectares
As of 2020, Peru had one of the largest forest areas in the world at 213,600 square kilometers. In terms of forest cover as a percentage of landmass, Peru ranked ninth at 54.8%.
Peru’s forests are found throughout the country, with the Amazon rainforest accounting for 60% of the total forest area. The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical forest in the world and is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. Other important forests in Peru include the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains and the coastal mangrove forests.
Forests play an important role in Peru’s economy and environment. They provide valuable timber resources, support a thriving tourism industry, and help to protect against soil erosion and floods. Deforestation is a significant problem in Peru, however, and is occurring at an alarming rate. Between 2001 and 2017, Peru lost nearly 11% of its total Forest cover. Illegal logging, firewood collection, agriculture, and mining are all major drivers of deforestation in Peru.
Indonesia’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 92 Million Hectares
According to the World Bank, Indonesia had one of the largest forest areas in 2020, at 92 million hectares. This was behind Brazil ( 370 million hectares) and Congo ( 220 million hectares). However, Indonesia’s forest area has been declining in recent years, due to the country’s high population density and economic development. In 2000, Indonesia had 96 million hectares of forest, meaning that it lost 4 million hectares of Forest in 20 years.
The Indonesian government has made some efforts to stop this trend by creating national parks and other protected areas, as well as by investing in reforestation projects. However, these initiatives have not been successful enough to offset the loss of forests due to deforestation and other land uses.
As a result of its large Forest area, Indonesia is home to a great diversity of plant and animal species. Over 15% of the world’s known species can be found in Indonesia, including many endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger and rhinoceros. The loss of Forest habitat is a major threat to these and other species.
Indonesia’s forests are also important for the global climate. They play a role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. The loss of forests not only threatens wildlife and local communities but also contributes to global environmental problems.
7. DR Congo
DR Congo’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 126 Million Hectares
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had one of the largest forest areas in 2020, with 126 million hectares. This was an increase of 3% from 2019. The DRC’s forest cover is largely Concentrated in the central and northern parts of the country.
The majority of the DRC’s forest is primary forest, which is a forest that has never been significantly altered by human activity. In 2020, primary Forest accounted for 81% of the DRC’s total forest area.
The DRC has a high deforestation rate, and its forests are under significant pressure from agriculture, infrastructure development, and charcoal production. Deforestation in the DRC increased by 8% between 2018 and 2019, and it is estimated that the country lost 1.3 million hectares of Forest in 2020.
Australia’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 134 Million Hectares
The forest area in Australia in 2020 is estimated to be 890,451 square kilometers. This is an increase of 1% from the previous year. The majority of the forest area is located in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. Other notable areas include Western Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria.
The total number of trees in the Australian forest has increased by 5% since 2019 to an estimated 24.6 billion trees. The average tree density in Australia is 275 trees per hectare.
Forests play an important role in the Australian ecosystem and are home to a variety of plant and animal species. They provide critical habitats for many threatened and endangered species. In addition, forests help to protect against soil erosion, provide clean air and water, and offer opportunities for recreation and tourism.
China’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 220 Million Hectares
As of 2020, China had the fifth-largest forest area at 7.6 million square kilometers. In terms of forest cover, China ranked fourth with 21.9 percent. The majority of China’s forests are located in the north and northeast of the country, where they play an important role in the regional climate and water cycles.
China’s forests provide a range of ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, soil and water conservation, and habitat for wildlife. They also support local livelihoods and provide recreational opportunities for people across the country.
Despite their importance, China’s forests face a number of challenges including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation. These problems are driven by a range of factors including economic development, population growth, and changes in land use patterns.
Deforestation is one of the most serious threats to China’s forests. It is estimated that between 1990 and 2005, China lost around 13 million hectares of forest cover or around 5 percent of its total forest area. Deforestation rates have slowed in recent years but remain high in some areas such as the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
Degradation is another major problem affecting China’s forests. Degraded forests are less productive and provide fewer ecosystem services than healthy forests. Degradation can be caused by a number of factors including over-exploitation, firewood collection, drought, insect infestations, and soil erosion.
4. United States of America
USA’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 310 Million Hectares
As of 2020, the forest area in the United States of America had 310 million hectares. This is down from 400 million hectares in 2010. The decrease in forest area is largely due to the conversion of forest land to other uses, such as agriculture and urban development.
The United States has the third largest forest area in the world, behind Brazil and Russia. The vast majority of the country’s forests are located in the western states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. These forests are some of the most biologically diverse in the world and support a wide range of plant and animal species.
Despite the decrease in overall Forest area, the United States continues to have a large forest resource. In fact, it is estimated that there are more trees in the United States now than there were 100 years ago. This is due to successful forestry management practices that have promoted tree planting and growth.
Canada’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 347 Million Hectares
As of 2020, Canada had the third largest forest area in the world at 7,931,047 square kilometers. The United States was in first with 9,093,312 square kilometers and Russia was in second with 8,149,200 square kilometers. Brazil was in fourth with 5,128,000 square kilometers.
To put this into perspective, the forest area of Canada is almost as large as the entire country of Iraq which has an area of 438,317 square miles. It is also larger than any individual US state with the exception of Alaska.
The forest cover in Canada has changed little over the last few decades. In 1990 the forest area was 7,803,370 km2 which has only increased by 1.8%. This is due to both natural and human causes.
Natural causes include fires (both naturally occurring and those caused by humans), insect infestations, windthrow (trees being downed by high winds), and disease. All of these can lead to a loss of trees which reduces the forest cover.
On the other hand, there are also many activities that people do that can increase the amount of Forest cover. These include: planting trees (for example, in reforestation projects or for offsetting carbon emissions), stopping or reducing deforestation or forest degradation (such as through improved forestry management practices), and increasing the area under protected status (such as national parks or Wilderness Areas).
Brazil’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 497 Million Hectares
The forest area in Brazil in 2020 was 4,065,673 square kilometers. This represented a decrease of 0.02% from the 2019 forest area. The total land area of Brazil is 8,515,770 square kilometers, making the forest cover 49.01% of the country.
Brazil’s forests are some of the most biodiverse in the world and are home to many endemic species. They are also an important carbon sink, helping to offset some of the country’s emissions. However, they are under threat from deforestation, which is driven by a number of factors including agriculture, ranching, and logging.
Deforestation in Brazil increased sharply in the early 2000s due to a combination of these factors. However, it has declined significantly since 2004 thanks to government policies and enforcement that have reduced illegal activities. Nevertheless, deforestation continues to pose a major threat to Brazil’s forests.
Russia’s Total Forest Area in 2020: 815 Million Hectares
As of 2020, Russia had the world’s largest forest area, accounting for 22% of the global total. In 2020, the forest area in Russia had 815 million hectares. The Russian Federation has a long history of forestry and wood processing. The first Russian state forests were established in the 16th century. Today, more than half of the country’s territory is forested.
The Russian forest sector employs about 1.6 million people and contributes to the country’s economy by generating an estimated $32 billion annually. The forest sector also plays an important role in environmental protection. Russia’s forests help to stabilize the global climate and are home to a diversity of plant and animal species.
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As we can see, forests are vital to our planet and its inhabitants. They provide us with oxygen, fresh water, food, and shelter. They also regulate the climate, purify the air, and protect against soil erosion. Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and they play a critical role in our fight against climate change. Unfortunately, forests around the world are under threat from human activity. Every year, millions of hectares of forest are lost to deforestation. This has devastating consequences for the environment and for the people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. That’s why it’s so important that we all do our part to protect forests. We can start by reducing our own consumption of wood and paper products. We can also support organizations that are working to protect forested areas around the world. Together, we can make a difference in the fight to save our planet’s forests.