Forests cover almost one third of the land on our planet and produce essential oxygen,
materials, and habitat for the survival of species on Earth.
However these ecosystems are under threat,
as humans have plowed through forested regions at alarming rates,
for timber, agriculture, and land in a process called
Deforestation is often due to economic incentives that make forest conversion more profitable than forest preservation. Between 2000 and 2012, only 2.4 million square miles of the original 6 million square miles of forest covering Earth remain.
This interactive activity allows you to draw your prediction of the Earth's global forest acreage looks like with your mouse cursor. You may edit your predictions by dragging the dotted blue line. Click the "Show Actual" to reveal an animation with the true statistics and compare your guess!
This forest is the largest in the world with 5.5 million kilometers with unique species. By 1995, 70% of formerly forested land in the Amazon, and 91% of land deforested since 1970, had been converted to cattle ranching.
Dense forests span the entirety of the Canada wilderness. Forests are a major source of wealth for Canadians, generating $19.8 billion in 2013 and providing a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits.
This forest cradles the upper border of Europe and Asia. The demand for resources in world markets increases deforestation. In particular, the increase of illegal felling, which accounts for 30-70% of total, causes both environment and economic loss.
The global impact of deforestation is overwhelming, particularly over the last few decades.
Human apathy has resulted in steep declines from 1990 to 2012. This visualization reflects
the steady drop in land mass of the world's dense natural forests.
“When the productive lands lose their essence, our productive lives shall least have essence!”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Although deforestation is a global issue, we examine that countries are affected disproportionately around the world.
Wealthier countries are more likely to experience forest growth while poorer countries carry the burden of environmental destruction
in order to generate profit and provide for their communities.
Hover over the visualization to explore different country deforestation rates.
info Click Once to Filter, Twice to Reset
|East Asia & Pacific|
|Middle East & North Africa|
|Europe & Central Asia|
|Latin America & Caribbean|
|Radius = Country Population
Color = Geographic Region
In the above scatterplot, we observe that there is a large cluster of low GDP countries experiencing high deforestation rates. The following overlapping line chart presents a breakdown by socioeconomic level that makes the discrepancy increasingly evident. Wealthier countries have more leverage to negotiate environmental protection at the expense of their less endowed peers.
This game demonstrates the stark difference in bargaining power between countries with different GDPs.
The areas are divided proportionally by three different socioeconomic classes.
Green corresponds to USA, Orange to Portugal,
and Purple to Zimbabwe. Throughout playing, you may experience
that it is much easier to score as the USA than Zimbabwe.
Jericho, NY // Lowell House
Boulder, CO // Kirkland House
San Ramon, CA // Mather House