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How Much Tropical Rainforest Did We Lose in 2020?

How Much Tropical Rainforest Did We Lose in 2020?   ©The Earth & I
  • Earth’s tropical regions lost 12.2 million hectares of tree cover in 2020, including 4.2 million hectares, an area the size of the Netherlands, within primary forests.

  • Carbon emissions resulting from this primary forest loss (2.64 Gt CO2) are roughly the same as the annual emissions of 570 million automobiles.

  • This primary forest loss was 12% higher in 2020 than the year before, the second year in a row of worsening primary forest loss in the tropics.

  • Indonesia’s rate of primary forest loss declined for the fourth year in a row in 2020 and it was one of only a few countries to do so.

  • Brazil led the world in 2020 in primary forest loss with a total of 1.7 million hectares lost, an increase of 25% from the year before.

  • The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, lost 16 times more primary forest in 2020 than in 2019, with experts estimating that about 30% of the Pantanal burned last year.


  • Global Forest Watch, World Resources Institute

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