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Chart of Global Forest

Global Forest
There are just under 40,000,000 sq. km of forest area remaining on Earth.
Of the remaining primary forests, only ~18% are in legally protected forests, which is approximately 5% of the original forest estimated to have covered the planet 8,000 years ago.

The FAO defines primary forests as naturally regenerated forests of native tree species where there are no clearly visible indications of human activity and the ecological processes are not significantly disturbed.

While ‘old-growth’ is a commonly used term for primary forest, there is no generally agreed definition of old growth or age of trees because age varies with site, regional and biome specific factors. While many primary forest trees are long lived (300-1500 years), old growth is generally defined according to the presence of specific forest structures including large, older trees, snags, coarse woody debris and canopy layering that take decades to centuries to acquire.


UN FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, p. 9;
UN FAO State of the World’s Forest 2020,
UN FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, Terms and Definitions;;
Policy Options for the World’s Primary Forests in MultilateralEnvironmental Agreements, Mackey, et. al.;
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Tags: forest, biomes, ecology, deforestation, primary forest, old growth forest, global forest, global-ecology

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