The world has a total forest area of 4.06 billion hectares (ha), which is 31 percent of the total land area. This area is equivalent to 0.52 ha per person – although forests are not distributed equally among the world’s people or geographically.

According to a latest report of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world has lost a net area of 178 million ha of forest since 1990, which is an area about the size of Libya. More than half (54 percent) of the world’s forests is in only five countries – the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China.


When it comes to average annual net gain in forest area, China, Australia and India are among top-3 countries for period of 2010–2020. However, it is to be noted that there was also a reduction in the rate of gain in South and Southeast Asia; the average annual increase in planted forest area in India, for example, was 365 000 ha in 1990–2000 then => 341 000 ha in 2000–2010, and then => only 49,100 ha 2010–2020.

The rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over the period 1990–2020 due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests. The rate of net forest loss declined from 7.8 million ha per year in the decade 1990–2000 to 5.2 million ha per year in 2000–2010 and 4.7 million ha per year in 2010–2020.

The rate of decline of net forest loss slowed in the most recent decade due to a reduction in the rate of forest expansion.

Bamboo Plantation

The total area of bamboo increased by almost 50 percent between 1990 and 2020 (Figure 13), largely because of increases in China and India.

Govt and Local/Tribal Managed Forests -

In Asia, the area of public forest managed by public administrations decreased and the area managed by local, tribal and indigenous communities increased, due largely to India and the implementation of joint forest management (a participatory management regime involving the government and local communities in the regeneration and management of degraded forests). 

The forest area managed by local, tribal and indigenous communities in India increased from zero in 1990 to about 25 million ha in 2015.

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