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