The world’s deforestation rate has accelerated to 6.4 million hectares a year, a new UN survey showed on Wednesday, but Asia showed net gains in forest land-use largely due to extensive planting in China. A new, satellite-based survey released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides a more accurate picture of changes in the world’s forests, showing forest land use declined between 1990 and 2005.

Satellite technology was used for the first time to map forests finding there was a net loss of 4.9 million hectares a year between 1990 and 200 and 6.4 million between 2000 and 2005. Deforestation largely occurred in the tropics, likely attributable to the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural land mostly in  South America and Africa. Net loss  totalled 72.9 million hectares, or 32 percent less than the previous figure of 107.4 million hectares, according to the survey.

The planet lost an average of 4.9 million hectares of forest per year, or nearly 10 hectares of forest per minute over the 15-year period.

Slight net increases in forest area were registered in subtropical, temperate and boreal zones over the full 15 year period. The survey showed forests now cover 30 percent of the world’s landmass.

Global forest land-use change from 1990 to 2005: Initial results from FAO’s global remote sensing survey

Slideshow: Main results of the survey

Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010

Latest articles

Typhoon “Damrey” hits Vietnam, leaving at least 27 dead and 22 missing

Typhoon “Damrey” hit southern Vietnam on Saturday, November 4, 2017 as the strongest storm to hit that part of the country in 16 years. At least 27 people died and 22 are still missing, as of Sunday morning, November 5. Damrey made landfall near Nha Trang…

The Kilogram doesn’t weigh a kilogram any more

The Kilogram doesn’t weigh a kilogram anymore. This sad news was announced during a seminar at CERN on Thursday, October 26 by Professor Klaus von Klitzing, who was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the quantized Hall effect….

Hubble sees nearby asteroids photobombing distant galaxies

Some of our solar system’s asteroids have photobombed deep images of the universe taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. These asteroids reside, on average, only about 99.4 million km (160 million miles) from Earth — right around the corner in…

How toxic air clouds mental health

There is little debate over the link between air pollution and the human respiratory system: Research shows that dirty air can impair breathing and aggravate various lung diseases. Other potential effects are being investigated, too, as scientists examine…

ALMA discovers cold dust around nearest star

The ALMA Observatory in Chile has detected dust around the closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri. These new observations reveal the glow coming from cold dust in a region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as the Earth is from the…

Return of the Comet: 96P spotted by ESA, NASA satellites

The ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA mission SOHO — short for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory — got a visit from an old friend this week when comet 96P entered its field of view on October 25, 2017. The comet entered the lower right corner of…

Beijing issues first orange air pollution alert of the autumn season, China

Beijing’s meteorological authority has issued an orange air pollution alert for the next four days, the first severe smog warning since the capital city entered the autumn season. The heavy pollution emergency response headquarters said that the alert, the…

Deadly monsoon rains hit Chennai, 74% of average seasonal rain in 8 days

Since the northeast monsoon set in on October 27, 2017, the city of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state in southern India has recorded 554.2 mm (21.8 inches) of rain, 74% of the long-term average it receives annually in the rain season. Schools and colleges have…

Strong and shallow M6.8 earthquake hits Tonga region

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.8 hit Tonga region at 09:00 UTC on November 4, 2017. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.7 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). According to the USGS, the epicenter was…

Tsunami reveals human noise pollution in Hawaiian waters

A tsunami that struck Hawaii in 2011 and caused a temporary halt to boat traffic has provided scientists a rare glimpse into what the bays might sound like without human activities. The tsunami, triggered by the same earthquake that caused the Fukushima nuclear…

Damrey to slam into southern Vietnam as strongest typhoon in 16 years

Typhoon “Damrey” is expected to slam into southern Vietnam around UTC midnight on November 4 (07:00 local time) with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h (86 mph), likely the strongest typhoon to make landfall over southern Vietnam in 16 years. This…

Intergalactic plasma filaments confirmed?

On the Space News series, a clear picture of cosmic scale phenomena has emerged: networks of filaments pervade space and are closely linked to the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. The electric universe and plasma cosmology have always predicted that…

Ozone hole in 2017 the smallest since 1988

Measurements from satellites this year showed the hole in Earth’s ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September was the smallest observed since 1988, scientists from NASA and NOAA announced today. According to NASA, the ozone hole reached its peak…

How to turn a volcano into a power station

Ethiopia tends to conjure images of sprawling dusty deserts, bustling streets in Addis Ababa or the precipitous cliffs of the Simien Mountains – possibly with a distance runner bounding along in the background. Yet the country is also one of the most…

California wildfires: 14 720 homes destroyed or damaged, 43 people killed, $ 3.3 billion loss

The wildfires that ravaged parts of California in October caused at least $ 3 billion in insured losses, a total of 14 720 damaged or destroyed homes, and nearly 3 200 personal vehicle losses, officials said Tuesday. As of November 2, the death toll stands at 43….

Queensland had wettest October since 1975 and 3rd wettest on record, Australia

Queensland had its third-wettest October on record averaged across the State, and the wettest October since 1975, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported in their monthly climate summary released November 1. The storms forced evacuations, caused power outages,…

Ambae volcano hazards ahead of rainy season, Vanuatu

Eruptive activity at Aoba volcano, also known as Ambae, is continuing in the minor eruption state and the Alert Level for the volcano remains at Level 3, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department reported today and warned about hazards around the volcano…

The Watchers » Deforestation