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

  1. King says:

    There need to be more tree cut down like 60 billion more cuz I hate trees

  2. King says:

    Trees are bad

  3. King says:

    That don’t really know show it could be 40 bill and that will be great

  4. King1000 says:

    No there is 35600000000000000 trees cut down a year

  5. King1000 says:

    Fuck trees

  6. fabrice says:

    its not fare for the tree that gets cut down i fell sorry for the trees i wish i can help but i cant :(((((((9 i love you

  7. King1000 says:

    I fucking hate tree ill go cut down like 50 today

  8. Shadow730 says:

    You can shut up the hell King cause trees are whats keeping us alve

  9. Shadow730 says:

    hell up Im tired :0-yawn

  10. shando says:

    i think trees should stop being cut down for no reason.

  11. Bogdan says:

    May shut up, say nothing to cut all the trees, if you think I give us air (photosynthesis, gives you the air you breathe, why do you think tahat your mother have or not potted plants in the house) and give color to our lives , even imagine living your whole life without seeing little green around the world. If we cut all trees may, who knows, our planet will become like Mars, a lifeless desert. So do not talk stupid and thinking about what you say.

  12. xavier says:

    leave trees alone

  13. nicolas says:

    trees rock

  14. Ben says:

    I read through your post and I did not find the most important reason that they cut down trees. For cattle and crops(land).

  15. cooper says:

    i support trees. do not cut down trees PEOPLE!

  16. Samara says:

    Trees should be able to live and be heard trees have made humans breathe fresh air every single moment of the day trees should not be cut down because some people want to be annoing if you hate trees then you should die in a hole

  17. Portal says:

    SHUT THE F*** UP KING TREES ARE THE BEST THE USE PHOTOSYNTHISIS TO KEEP US ALIVE!!!!!

  18. jordan says:

    the only reason that we are alive is the trees so why dont you shut up and let the trees live and how would you like it if you where a tree and everyone wanted to cut you down and wanted to use you for paper and its also because of school we use so much paper and when we do cut down the last tree then we are all going to be dead and its going to be everyones falt

  19. jordan stone says:

    you people have no common since and you dont give a Si** so i hope that all of the people that hate trees should just go die in a hole.

  20. mariya says:

    i love trees, God gave us trees to live. so people should stop cutting them down!!!!!!!

  21. niblits says:

    trees are fukin stupid

  22. Mcr says:

    Lol trees are the things keeping your dumb asses alive. Forreals quit hatin and get off this site then.No sense in going to a site trying to save trees if you hate trees. ;)

  23. Cat on the Hill says:

    Trees are what keeps us alive, they are the alive things that balances the earth. Every carbon dioxide are their needs, they do opposite of what we breath out, Oxygen. Some of the idiots might not know the impacts we cause to our beautiful Earth. People should stop cutting down the threes and they should start planting seeds in their gardens.

  24. shaniqua says:

    penis

  25. billy says:

    i like pussy

  26. TreesShouldntBeCut says:

    So many ignorant comments, trees are very important to our system cutting them is like taking the earth lungs away.

  27. McKinna says:

    So many of yous need to learn the facts before you say anything on the internet. Trees are cut down at a continuous rate but they are also being planted at a continuous rate. For every one tree cut down, 10 are planted. And without trees Earth wouldn’t be able to complete its cycles.

  28. steve alford says:

    why would so many people say ignorant things unless they where a fool which in a free country you have a right to be.but come on people lets be good stewards of what god blessed us with to sustain life!!!

  29. Emmy says:

    im actuly alergic to trees i need a injection once a month but i dont want the trees gone they give us oxygen

  30. Benjamin-your worst enemy says:

    I am pissing and shiting so hard laughing at you guys that i’m going to need a boat to get out of my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. SHD123 says:

    Trees are awesome

  32. SHD123 says:

    No trees no life!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We are going to die if there are no trees!!!

  33. peodkejdied says:

    trees are nice just leav them
    Peace out

  34. Shaniqua says:

    I like chicken

  35. Shaniqua says:

    I lie chicken

  36. fgtrefgffghg says:

    just shut up

  37. fgtrefgffghg says:

    happy cow

  38. kjfg says:

    TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES!…..so ya

  39. kjfg says:

    TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES! TREES!……so yeah

  40. tree lover says:

    i fucking love trees derp

  41. Dig says:

    I love trees but one fell on my house so fuck trees.

  42. Factman says:

    Fact: 1/3 of all the trees on earth are found above the Artic Circle, who on their own can supply the earth with oxygen. There is no market for man to harvest these trees and the only threat to these trees existence are insects, the tree beatle.

    Fact: Prior to Europeans settling North America and the massed huntings of beavers for fur, the population of these wood cutting rodents is estimated to have been between 100-200 million. Each beaver, on average, cut down 200 trees annually. Thats 20 billion to 60 billion trees a year. Thats 10 times more trees cut down annually today world wide!

  43. unknown says:

    fuk u man u neeed trees to fukin live muverfukers

  44. We are taking way too many trees out of the worlds forests, we need to focus on harvesting the plantations.

  45. Ellie says:

    Trees should not be cut down

  46. Gggghhi says:

    Trees r cool :)

  47. Shazzah says:

    OMG. TREEEEEEEEES. I HAVE TO DO MY SNE ASSIGNMENT ON PAPER. SO DOES THAT MEAN IM KILLING TREEEES TOOO?

  48. Alex says:

    @King say that again when you’re dead cuz all the trees are cut down and you can’t breathe. Get your facts straight man.

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