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Forests, the lungs of the planet, are under extreme threat. Up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation.

How the land is used following logging is critical to understanding deforestation, because without follow-up fires and cultivation, the land would return to forest.
The dominant land use after logging is food production, particularly grazing land (Amazon), and soybean production (southern Brazil) driven by demand for livestock feed.
Removing the drivers of deforestation by changing diet away from livestock would have a dramatic impact on this destruction.
15 Billion trees are cut down annually

“There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth… The study also finds that human activity is detrimental to tree abundance worldwide. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year, the researchers estimate; since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%”

Nature Journal, 2015

Forests contribute to the livelihoods of 1 billion people

“Forests are home to 300 million people around the world and they contribute to the livelihoods of many of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty. Forests provide global food security and resources, food, fodder, fuel and medicine”

International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2008

An area the size of greece is deforested annually

“1,300 km2 of the world’s tropical forests are being cut down every year, that’s an area the same size as Greece”

United Nations Environment Programme, 2009

50% of original forest gone in last 50 years

“Over the past 50 years, about half the world’s original forest cover has been lost”

WWF, 2014

3 Trillion less trees

“We now have 3 trillion less trees”

The Conservation, 2015


70% of biodiversity is in forests

“70% of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests”

National Geographic

Annually deforestation costs more than the recent bank crisis

“The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis costing the world between $2 & $5 trillion annually”

BBC, 2008

2012 Global GDP = $73 trillion

“In 2012, global GDP amounted to about US$73.48 trillion”

Statista, 2015

Deforestation releases carbon into the atmosphere

“Lost forest cover heats the planet, because trees absorb CO2 while they’re alive, and when they’re burned or cut down, the greenhouse gas is released back into the atmosphere”

Time Magazine, 2008

Forests absorb 40% of CO2

“World’s forests absorb almost 40% of man-made CO2”

The Telegraph, 2011

20% of CO2 emissions from deforestation

“Almost 20% of all global CO2 emissions are caused by deforestation”

World Bank, 2008

75% of black carbon from deforestation

“Three quarters of black carbon (soot) and ozone pollution come from deforestation fires and open fires”

Journal of Geophysical Research, 2013

Cattle ranching responsible for 80% of amazon deforestation

“Cattle ranching is the number one culprit of deforestation in virtually every Amazon country, and it accounts for 80% of current deforestation”

WWF, 2008

All life on Earth is threatened



Rainforest deforestation increased by 25% since the 90’s

“Tropical deforestation rates this decade are 8.5% higher than during the 1990’s. However the loss of primary tropical rainforest, the wildest and most diverse swaths, has increased by as much as 25% since the 1990’s”

Scientific American, 2009


10% more rainforest will be destroyed in the next 35 years

“By 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42% and fertilizer use increased sharply by 45% over 2009 levels. A further tenth of the world’s pristine tropical forests will disappear over the next 35 years”

University of Cambridge, 2014



Rainforests have 100 years left

“If the current rate of deforestation continues, the world’s rainforests will vanish within 100 years”

NASA, 2001


Map: forest area

“Forest area in 2000 and projected forest area in 2050 and 2100, as calculated by the Living Forests Model under a Do Nothing Scenario, in which a demand for land increases to supply a population with food, fibre and fuel, and historical patterns of poorly planned and governed exploitation of forest resources continue”


“Keeping forests alive is crucial to solving climate change”

The Nature Conservancy

Planting trees will stop global warming

“We could make a very significant impact on global warming a few decades from now by planting trees on around 500 million acres. It surely sounds like a lot of land but, by way of comparison, the world has about 10 times that amount in pasture land right now, so it would not be a matter of trying to plant trees in the desert or on lands already used for crop production”

Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012

Switching from animal protein to plant protein can stop deforestation

“From now on, the question of whether we get our protein from animals or plants has direct implications for how much more of the world’s remaining forest we have to raze”

Worldwatch Institute, 2004