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FAO Publishes Key Findings of Global Forest Resources Assessment

25 March 2010: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published the key findings of its "Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010" (FRA 2010). Among the findings, FAO reports that the world deforestation rate has decreased over the past ten years, but continues at a high rate in many countries.

Commenting on the findings, Mette Loyche Wilkie, FRA 2010 coordinator, stated that "a lower deforestation rate and the establishment of new forests have helped bring down the high level of carbon emissions from forests caused by deforestation and forest degradation." She also called for putting in place effective and permanent measures to significantly reduce the current rates of deforestation and forest degradation to avoid the risk of a sudden return to the 1990's high rates of net forest loss and carbon emissions from forests.

The report finds that the net loss of forest area was reduced to 5.2 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 8.3 million hectares annually in the 1990s. South America and Africa had the highest net annual loss of forests in 2000-2010, while Asia had a net gain of 2.2 million hectares annually in the last decade, mainly due to large-scale afforestation programmes in China, India and Viet Nam. Brazil and Indonesia, which had the highest loss of forests in the 1990s, have significantly reduced their deforestation rates.

FRA 2010 is the most comprehensive assessment of forests and forestry to date, examining the current status and recent trends for about 90 variables covering the extent, condition, uses and values of forests and other wooded land, with the aim of assessing all benefits from forest resources. Information has been collated from 233 countries and territories for four points in time: 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The results are presented according to the seven thematic elements of sustainable forest management. The full report will be available in October 2010. [FAO Media Release] [Key Findings]