How many trees are cut down every year?

Written by Brant Olson

Topics: Agribusiness, Finance, Learn

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When you work for a group like RAN, you get lots of questions about deforestation. Here’s a recent Q&A. “Statistics lie”  you say? Commentary on our conclusions are welcome encouraged!

Where can I get hard facts on global deforestation?

The UN FAO State of the World’s Forests 2007 gives the most current comprehensive world view, but lacks much detail. The latest detailed look at global deforestation rates is available from the FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. An easy-to-navigate summary of key findings of the 2005 report is available at http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests

note that the FAO defines forests as land with a tree canopy cover of more than 10 percent and an area of more than half a hectare. FAO says that “forest” includes natural forests and forest plantations<–monoculture tree farms that most would not recognize as “forests” in the traditional sense. So when you hear industry brag that the country has more forests than we did a decade ago, their claim relies on this designation.

How many trees are cut down each year? For what purpose?

  1. As for how many trees are cut down each year, the 2005 report concludes that primary forest area (as opposed to plantations)was reduced globally by 60,000 square kilometers per year (about the size of Ireland; see: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests/index.htm#2). Note that this data is incomplete due to a lack of available data from many countries who do not monitor such change. As to the “number of trees” this represents, it’s impossible to get an accurate count. Tree density in primary forests varies from 50,000-100,000 trees per square km, so the math would put this number at 3 billion to 6 billion trees per year.
  2. As for what purpose this logging is for, pg. 129 of the 2007 report provides statistics on global production and consumption of woodfuel (charcoal and other energy uses) roundwood (paper and other non-lumber products) and sawnwood (lumber). It estimates global production at 1.7 billion (46 percent) , 1.6 billion (43 percent) and 421 million (11 percent) cubic meters respectively with comparable volumes consumed globally.

How much is this industry worth? How much (in millions) goes to paper vs. construction?

  1. Incomplete data from the FAO’s 2005 report gives a global value of $64 billion to “wood forest products removals”–$57 billion of which is from industrial roundwood and its derivatives (lumber and paper; see http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests/l-2/8-economic-social-benefits.htm#0)
  2. A recent report on illegal logging by The American Forest and Paper Association states that “The global value of 2002 total wood products trade (HTS Chapter 44) can be estimated at approximately $69 billion, based on data available through the Global Trade Information Service (GTIS). Pulp, Paper and Paperboard trade would add another $117 billion, bringing the total value of forest products trade to $186 billion” (link, page 6).

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474 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. NatureFox says:

    I do not know why you all are arguing, but i agree with the people who have said some very good and important things. if you cut trees, plant more. Please do us all a favor and do not argue over something people need in life. What we all are basically doing is proving the fact that some people are immature. I am a very cheery person in life with one request, actually two. 1: if you cut trees, plant more for all of us to live. 2: do not argue over something like this, we all need trees to live.

  2. KPrince says:

    Because of the money gained from this industry, the use of trees will continue. The research to find other raw materials to create our products costs money that the industry will not spend. I don’t see how there can be any change. It is sad that nothing will be done until it maybe too late.

  3. hello man says:

    hello hello and welcome to the show hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello hello and welcome to the show and welcome to the show!

  4. hello man says:

    let it through or ill jump around and say hello >;(

  5. hello man says:

    grrrrr >;( hello!

  6. people we need th keep our trees if u want to die beacause we dont have oxegen then stop cutting down trees or at least plant some more dang

  7. hannah says:

    i think people dont think about what they are doing when they cut down trees. my little brother doesnt think it is that big of a deal and i just cant tell him how much hes wrong. im only a teen, but im doing a paper on this and im hoping i can make a differnce in the world, wait i can make a differnet world for the young people, the babies, our kids. if i can change of at least help us change u can 2. :)

  8. Tree Hugga ;D says:

    OMG! We need to stop this insanity!!!!!!!! If we keep cutting down all these trees, WE WILL DIE!!!!!!

  9. Tree Hugga ;D says:

    I mean, I’m on both sides of the argument. we need trees, but we should limit how much we use them because honestly we need houses, but do we need that many trees to build houses? nope i don’t thank so. Certain websites are forms of propeganda 1 website disses tree huggers, and the other disses tree cutters. we all have our own opinions. thats what helped build america. Both sides are correct, and we should all respect people’s opinions. :D <333 ;)

  10. robbie says:

    i think look
    at the species the mokey birds exetra that is thre home if we have just one big masssive tree life center or somthing like that were animals cantget in we can use that.

  11. robbie says:

    and aswell i forgot about we are cutting down so much a year we can cut down soo much like paper have laptops yes we need paper but the amount we are cutting down. the ammount we waist is huge numbers,
    listen to my advise it really will make a change.

  12. mathman :-( says:

    stop cut down trees plz

  13. marissa johnston says:

    stop cutting down trees or i will kick your big white arse ! ! !

  14. lollypop2000 says:

    pleze stop cutting down trees or i wil get the animal control on to you coz that whats you r animals !!

  15. A.Liddoe says:

    less trees less oxygen ! animals live in these forest & live in these trees they are cutting down their homes & medicines are usually found in the rain forest, they can be cutting down the trees & taking away medicines & cure for things we never got to know about or probably never will, just think of the future, when were loww on tree’s & its possible for how much is cut down each year our planet is only 30 % percent tree’s ! “think of it”

  16. Brian says:

    There are really plenty of trees, probably as many as there were before people started going to California.

  17. Bethxx says:

    hehehehehe

  18. Bethxx says:

    i am a tree hugger xxxx

  19. ajahnay says:

    this article really helped me with my school paper

  20. ajahnay says:

    im a tree hugger 2

  21. Tonderai says:

    Deforestation is going to continue to happen. All I can say is learn to use bamboo. It is the only way you can save your world. Funny things aside bamboo is a good resource it would save more trees. It grows fast and you can continue to harvest it while it grows. Look up the benefits of bamboo it helps the soil and needs little water. It can be used to build things it’s strong.

  22. millie says:

    borring

  23. Taz says:

    You can’t just plant more trees because Deforestation ruins the soil and then not much can be grown their ever again. :(

  24. Taz says:

    You can’t just plant more trees because deforestation ruins the soil, then not much more can be grown again. :(

  25. TrEeHuGeR4LiFe says:

    THIS IS NIT BORING! HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT TREES. TREEES HATE YOU! TREEES HATE YOU!!

  26. TrEeHuGeR4LiFe says:

    not*

  27. PoopNose says:

    Alright. Well, yeah, deforestation is bad, but really we won’t DIE if the trees are gone. They don’t produce most our oxygen, really they only make about 15%, you know. I’m not saying trees should be cut down because all those species will go most likely go extinct, I’m just saying, they aren’t necessary for human progression. At least do the research and have actual evidence to back up your opinion if your going to fight about it.Wooooooooooooooo my name is PoopNose. Hehe.

  28. Environmentalist says:

    Technically,one mature,leafy tree can produce as much oxygen in a season then 10 people inhale in a year.Because of this you would think that,considering how much oxygen one tree can produce so quickly,deforestation is okay.Its NOT!You not only have to put air pullution into cosideration,you also have to think of how fast trees are being cut down.Have you ever heard of the greenhouse effect?It starts with the burning of fossil fuels and coal.When these substances burn,CO2 is let off into the air.Its the trees and other plants’ job to take this CO2 and turn it back into oxygen.Because plants are able to do this,it’s okay to use fossil fuels and coal as sources of energy.That is, until we start using these resourses faster than plants can turn the pullution from the burning of the fossil fuel and coal(CO2)back into oxygen,wich is exactly what we are doing.Deforestation will just make this that much harder to stop, considering we wil have a decreasing amount of trees to help us turn the CO2 back into oxygen,and that will mean even MORE CO2 will be put into the atmosphere,causing more drastic climate change.

  29. Carter71 says:

    i will miss you poor trees. everyone will. except for the people who are DISREPECTING YOU POOR TREES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TREES HATE TREE HATERS TREES HATE YOU!

  30. Carter71 says:

    if people keep disrespecting trees and cutting them down the next few generations will not know what a tree is or what it looks like, okay poopnose!!!!!

  31. Carter71 says:

    im just kidding its not JUST you theres other peope to like tons and i agree with bethxx. and sort of treehugga

  32. Carter71 says:

    its not welcome to the show, its welcome to the FREAK show

  33. juice51 says:

    this for all the people that dont feel how the trees feel but i can when you cut down a tree it cuts down life so listen for a change those people out there, the ones who actually are cuttiing down trees right now stop cuz one when i am president im gonna make a law that says no cutting down trees. IF YOU DONT STOP CUTTING DOWN TREES WE WILL ALL BE DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OHH BY THE WAY THIS IS JUICE51

  34. juice51 says:

    ohh and i agree with mizz treehugger that was a pretty good comment so….. who is up for pizza

  35. carter71 says:

    the trees are the best thing in my life and no one is taking that away from an innocent person. oohh and for those poeple out there who cut down trees, you should be ashamed, and you should be in jail. because those trees are LIFE and your a MURDERER!!!!!!! you should be ashamed yes im saying twice!!hahahahahahahahahahahahehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehahahahahahahahahahahahahehehehehehehehehehehehahahahahahahaha M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R-S THAT SPELLS MURDERERS your killing things, THAT ARE ALIVE, YOU SHOULD BE IN JAIL

  36. juice51 says:

    hey hey hey hey whats up cant we just stop talking about the trees. as hard as it is not to cuz its pretty hard cuz thats how we live we should talk bout…… uhhhhhhhhh………something tehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe
    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
    so whats up why isnt anyone talking to me.

  37. joseph says:

    Every people is always thinks about how to save the money for their future..but they does not thinks about natural resources… are they going to eat the money instead of food… i think everyone take the initiative to overcome this problem… if it continues one day every country will fight for the natural resources like water etc…

  38. chikke says:

    this cutting down thing is the worst thing i know. And so many animals are
    dying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(

  39. Paul Felix Schott says:

    The day will come when the Japan 9.0 Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 will look like a kitten compared to a Lion when Greenland ice weight is lifted enough. No one will want to be by the North Atlantic Ocean Coast Line that Day. Or large water ways that lead into the North Atlantic Ocean.

    Read well and study on your own after you have read this.

    This is not a game or joke our Sun gives off a Solar Wind all day year round if you live in the State of Alaska you see it in the sky above what a sight it is going through our Earth’s Magnet Polls of the North and the South, North Poll. Its Called the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis.

    The day will come when you will be able to see it all over Earth as in the year 1859 Solar Flare, It was the largest in 500 years. Two Astronomer’s Hodgson and Carrington told the World that the Solar Flare made a Geomagnetic Storm reach Earth in hours not days. Back then it gave new meaning to Reach For The Skies from Telegraph Operators. For hours sparks flew from the key board. Even after the Batteries were disconnected. Nov 3 and 4, 2003 had a X40+ Class Solar Flare.

    Our Sun’s UV Rays will get stronger as each passing day go’s by, read and i will tell you why.

    The Great big forest have be striped from most of the Earth for Greed of Money by the Wicked. The trees our are Main Source of Oxygen on this Plant.
    The Forest Trees scrubs the Pollution out of the air and makes Oxygen from the rain and dirt that it grows in.

    The Forest Trees do more then just make Oxygen they stop Soil Erosion, just Look at the 1930 Dust Bowl. Greed by our Government taxes led farmers to clear cut all their Forest and farm all the land they were being Tax on. They had to farm it to pay for the Taxes. Why leave the Trees when food crop makes Money. This Did not Help the Depression that effected most all Worldwide. This year 2012 more then 100 million will suffer from Malnutrition and Dehydration. Many will die!

    In the United States of America alone more than 45 Million Americans Received Food Stamps and that number is going up every day every year.

    The Pollution and CO2 Carbon Dioxide go into the Tree Bark as a shield from most bugs so they do not eat the tree.

    Less Forest less Oxygen this is why the moon. That has no Oxygen is very cold on the side with out Sun Light, And hot as ever on the side with Sun Light. Way too cold and too hot to live there. You would need at least 10 times the Energy we use on Earth to even live there and life on the Moon would be very short.

    With no blank of Oxygen to lessen or reduce the Sun’s UV Rays and Solar Wind they are deadly there on our Moon. Every Mt. Climber and Aircraft Pilot knows the higher you go the thinner the Oxygen and colder it gets.

    Just spend a night on a Mt. top above 13,000 feet with no Sun Light and you will see or should i say feel the cold stinging any of your exposed skin. If you are new to Mt. Climbing stay below 10,000Ft. The Astronauts and the Cosmonauts and Fighter Pilots that i have been with for years know this very well, and the Radiation Hazards to humans at High Altitudes.

    Soon the Sun’s Solar Wind and UV rays will be way to strong for most to go out in the Sun Light for even a short time. The Geomagnetic Storm to come and the Bad Weather Storms well you have not seen nothing yet and the Sea Level is Rising the Oceans. Many Millions have been affected by Floods in China and Pakistan just last year. In 2005 Over a Thousand dead in New Orleans flood, and the list going on.

    And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and Earthquakes, in divers places such as was not from the beginning of the Creation.

    The last 30 years On Earth we have broke all high temp records and the temp it is still going up. All the Worlds Ice Glacier are melting at an Accelerating Rate. The Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps store more water than all the Fresh Water Lakes on Earth.

    The Bad Weather Storms now are Babies compared to what is to come.

    They will get even bigger and worse less Oxygen the more UV Rays to the Earth and more Water molecules will evaporate and go up into the Earth’s Atmosphere. Less Oxygen the colder with out sun light and hotter with it.

    The Sky full of more water vapor molecules, more snow in the winter and more Flash Floods in the Summer. All earth will see way more fires and the Deserts are growing larger.

    If every living person on Earth were to Plant A Tree Today we might have a chance.

    The Earth’s Atmosphere Blanket surrounding it protects life on Earth as Our Lord and GOD will all that seek Him.

    Then it is written when the tree is full it is harvest time. All the Earth will someday burn away.

    This is all Foretold in the Bible Read it
    and may our Lord Bless all that do so.

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    solardowork@yahoo.com
    KI4-AEX

    P.S.
    2 Peter 3:10
    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the Earth and its works will be burned up.

    GOD Bless You and Your Love ones
    Give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ every day.

    Read
    Luke 21:20-22
    Matthew 24: 30-33

  40. steven hawking says:

    hello cool beans bro

  41. Mohamed Sami says:

    Hi I am an 11 year old and I love nature. Right now I am having a project in school and I need some more information about cutting down trees. can someone reply with some information or some sites I can use.

  42. 212aleoa says:

    I DONT ARGREE WITH CUTTING DOWN TREES, PEOPLE REALLY DONT KNOW HOW MUCH THEY ARE CUTTING DOWN EACH YEAR THEY CUT DOWN THE SIZE OF IREKAND LIKE WHAT THE HECK!!!!! DO YOU WANT OUR EARTH TO COME TO AN END BECAUSE I SURE DONT I WANT TO REAMEMBER OUR EARTH CLEAN AND NOT SCREWD UP AND DIRTY WE ARE SO DIRTY THAT WE HAVE A LANDFILL THE SIZE OOF TEXAS IN THE MIDDLE OR THE OCEAN BECAUSE WE DONT HAVE ANYWHERE ELSE TO PUT IT.. HAS ANYONE HEARD OF GLOBAL WARMING ITS HAPPENING HAVE YOU LOOKED OUTSIDE AND SEEN ALL THE FLOWERS BLOOMING TOO EARLY AND THE WHETHER HOT COLD FROSTING.. WELL I HOPE PEOPLE WILL START LISTENING TO THE EARTH BEAUSE THE EARTH CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE IF WE DONT BYE BYEE EVERYONE THE EATH CAN LIVE WITH OUT US IT DID IT BEFORE WITH THE DINOS WE CANT LIVE WITH OUT THE EARTH! REMEMEBER THAT:) THANKS FOR LISTENING EVER LITTLE THING COUNTS:)

  43. J0HN_ says:

    I wish we could just use bonemeal to grow trees just like on Minecraft.

  44. I’m doing a power point for class, and i need to find out if animals extinction is caused by the cutting of forest. And witch animals.

  45. ella says:

    if we cut down trees we take animals home aways

  46. I highly agree there should be more trees planted when there are those 3 to 6 billion cut down i have supported this topic highly and nobody has listened but “oh well”
    anyway thanks you gave some helpful information

  47. maggs says:

    I don’t understand why everyone’s raging so much. I’m really sorry if what I’m going to say sounds childish, but it’s not that I know much on this but I believe that the cutting down of trees isn’t the biggest problem. Sure, there is global warming and crises occurring all over the world, but I don’t understand why everyone’s so hard on to this subject. Apart from deforestation there are tons more things occurring in the world. I understand the role of trees, and the necessity we have in them in order to keep living. It’s only on such a large scale today, because in today’s world, there are so many screwed up things and people are pushing and pushing on fixing them. I do not support the government and politics, however isn’t it only right that one doesn’t know what to do today? I absolutely support people having opinions and having the right to promote them, but in today’s world, it seems humans are so intense in their opinions that everyone only cares about their own well-being. You can’t disagree with me, that there is a great number of people who are only out there for their own survival. The world’s turned into a grotesque jungle, where one type of thing can’t be sorted out because there is no organisation. There are tons of ways and groups out there wanting to promote their idea. Save the animals, save the trees, save the environment. Perhaps the government isn’t doing anything about it, and I know many people are already probably doing this, but isn’t it better to promote those ideas ourselves? The government will barely ever listen these days, and if they do, they only put up as much as little change to satisfy the crowd. It’s better if we do what we think is right, even for the trees, and promote that to the people around us. Sure, many people won’t listen, but there are others out there who are willing to. It makes me sad, to be honest, that all this chaos is out. Someone’s life might be extremely brilliant right now, while others could just be suffering while trees are dying. I care as much for the environment, the trees, and the animals, I honestly do. But when the people who are supposed to listen don’t, then isn’t it just best to do what we do best? Applying our ideas and opinions to ourselves whilst promoting it to others. Of course it’s never late to give up, but think of some of the things the ‘higher ups’ are trying to do for trees. We need those trees obviously, but it’s better to know what we can know in order to help. I’m sorry if I sound naive, but it’s just what I think.

  48. Katie says:

    this is really fun to read but it is unfair to the trees. They just mad Foul-.-

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