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TABLE 2.4 Estimated Deforestation in the Tropics (thousand hectares)

   

Number of Countries Studied

Total Land Area

Forest Area 1980

Forest Area 1990

Annual Deforestation 1980–1990

Africa

15

609,500

289,700

241,500

4,800

Latin America

32

1,263,500

825,900

753,000

7,300

Asia

15

891,100

334,500

287,500

4,700

 

TOTAL

62

2,754,500

1,450,100

1,282,300

15,800

NOTE: Entries cover closed tropical forests. Closed forests have trees covering a high proportion of the ground and grass does not form a continuous layer on the forest floor. The numbers are indicative and should not be taken as regional averages.

SOURCE: Committee on Forestry. 1990. Interim Report on Forest Resources Assessment 1990 Project, Tenth Session. Geneva, Switzerland: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

economic activity and that the United States is in the middle of the field. It also shows France with low emissions per unit of economic activity, probably because of its extensive reliance on nuclear power as a source of electricity.

Table 2.4 shows recent estimates of deforestation in tropical forests for selected countries. About 80 percent of this wood is destroyed or used as fuel wood, and the remaining 20 percent is harvested for industrial or trade purposes. If the trees are burned, the CO2 they have stored is added to the air, and if they are replaced with plants that grow more slowly, less CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere.



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