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The first trees emerged about 400 million years ago. Humanity needs only about 18,000 years more to destroy them completely. This estimate is overly simplistic and assumes a “no change” scenario from current trends in deforestationan annual average loss of -0.13 percentbut it forces us to examine the data from a what if perspective, keeping in mind that forests are one of the most important natural filters and producers of oxygen.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was viewed as the turning point for global environmental policy, seeking to overturn disruptive ecological and environmental trends compounded by the industrial revolution and to spur development of national-level environmental policies to address emerging issues. The persistence of deforestation for land clearing and the continued popularity of wood in building and manufacturing despite the critical volume of forest coverage required is (disturbingly) evident in the data.

  • According to statistics from World Bank, a slightly greater share of countries reported a decrease in total forested area from 1990 through 2015 than reported an increase in total forested area, yielding a loss of 1.3 million square kilometers of forest area. In 2015, 89 countries (42.4 percent) reported a total decrease in forested area during the 25 year period, whereas 80 reported a gain and 37 reported no change.
  • Trends in forestry production indicate that even production of paper and paperboard increased—growing 3.5 percent from 2010 to 2015—according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, despite trends in favor of paperless work environments and declining subscriptions to newsprint media, for example.
  • At the same time, deforestation also negates other efforts globally to halt the growth in total emissions of carbon dioxide. When trees are felled, the stored carbon dioxide in the trees is released into the atmosphere, where the CO2 mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming.

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Temporary Crops

Temporary crops is all land used for crops with a less than one-year growing cycle and which must be newly sown or planted for further production after the harvest. Countries with the biggest square of temporary crops are Russia, Australia, Argentina, Ukraine, and Sudan. These countries have more than 50 percent of total temporary crops. Source: Resource Statistics - Land