About Deforestation

Deforestation, afforestation, reforestation on I.F.F

Reforesting the Earth is possible. Clearly, tree-planting must be made a way of life:

Destruction of forests creates numerous environmental catastrophes, including altering local rainfall patterns, accelerating soil erosion, causing the flooding of rivers, and threatening millions of species of plants, animals, and insects with extinction.

The main causes of deforestation are the expansion of agricultural and industrial needs, population growth, poverty, consumer demand, and landlessness.

Despite increased public awareness and a large number of initiatives, deforestation is still continuing in most of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. During 1980-90 alone, the Latin American region lost 62 million hectares (6.0 percent) of its natural forest, which was the largest loss in the world during those years, with a further 5.8 million hectares a year lost during 1990-95. (Source: UNEP)


Approximately 45% of Africa land is degraded primarily due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and mining and excessive groundwater extraction. More than 2/rds. of this can be re-generated.

Africa has the 3rd largest forest cover in the world at 68 million hectares. The government’s National Action Plan on climate change involves expanding forest cover from the current 23% to 33% of Ghana territory and to afforest 3 million hectares of degraded forest land.

Ghana has rich biodiversity – more than 45,000 plant and 91,000 animal species. However, there are rapid loss trends – 10% flora and fauna are on the threatened list and many are on the verge of extinction.

Alarming Facts:

Just to make up for the loss of trees in the last decade, the world would need to plant trees over an area of 130 million hectares, an area as large as Peru. This would entail planting 14 billion trees every year for 10 consecutive years, i.e. 2 saplings for every person on Earth (source: UNEP)

  • Deforestation is contributing almost 20% to the overall greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, more than the world’s vehicles and aircrafts combined.
  • An area of rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed each second.
  • More than 1.8 million hectares of dry deciduous forest disappear every year, 40 percent of which is lost in Sudan, Paraguay, Brazil, and India.
  • Net forest loss per day is 20,000 hectares, an area twice the size of Paris.
  • Global annual deforestation for desert forest stands at an estimated 82,000 hectares, 60 percent of which is lost in Mexico and Pakistan.
  • Hills and mountains lose about 2.5 million hectares of forest annually, 640,000 of which are lost in Brazil, 370,000 in Mexico, and 150,000 hectares in Indonesia.
  • About 6.1 million hectares of moist deciduous forest disappear every year, of which the largest regional share is in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 3.2 million hectares lost.
  • Annual losses of very dry forest total some 341,000 hectares. Sudan loses 81,000 hectares of this type of forest every year, followed closely by Botswana, with 58,000 hectares.
  • Tropical forests cover 23 percent of the Earth’s land surface, but they are disappearing at a rate of 4.6 million hectares a year. Asia leads losses with 2.2 million hectares a year, Latin America and the Carib-bean together lose 1.9 million and Africa loses 470,000 hectares of rainforest every year.
  • In Ethiopia, between 100,000 and 200,000 hectares of forest are cut down every year. Still, at least 200 million people lack enough wood to cook their food properly.