The continent of Africa lost a total of 3.9 million hectares of forest land between 2010 and 2020, making it the highest level of deforestation in the world.
According to the 2020 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Evaluation of World Forestry Resources, this represents 25% of the continent’s forest lands subjected to official management plans thus placing the continent on a rather bad footing moving forward.
The report notes that the area of protected forestry in the world increased by 191 million hectares since 1990 but the annual rate of progression registered a slowdown between 2010 and 2020. In Africa, total forest land surface under protected areas stands at 27% as against 31% in South America.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s report reveals that the net loss in Africa’s protected forest areas has continued to increase within the past three decades from 1990 to 2020. In contrast, the amount of deforestation in South America has been reducing with 2.6 million hectares destroyed between 2000 and 2010.
“The (African) forests are subjected to numerous perturbations which can harm their vitality or health and can reduce their capacity to furnish a complete range of ecosystem goods and services. Insects, health issues, fires and serious climatic events most times constitute hindrances to the wellbeing of forests”, the report notes.
The world forestry surface area is put at 4.06 billion hectares representing about 31% of the total land surface of the earth.
“Europe, including the Russian Federation, constitutes 25%, followed by South America with 21%, North and Central America have a forest area of 19%, Africa 16%, Asia 15% and Oceania 5%”, according to the FAO report.