Global tropical forest loss in 2022 totaled 4.1 million hectares, according to an analysis of satellite data that has been released today (Tuesday, June 27) by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The analysis showed this is the equivalent to losing 11 football fields of forest per minute. This forest loss produced 2.7Gts of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

This increased loss comes in the first year after heads of 145 countries vowed in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use to halt and reverse forest loss by the end of the decade.

Director of WRI’s Global Forest Watch, Mikaela Weisse told journalists in a briefing:

“Since the turn of the century, we have seen a haemorrhaging of some of the world’s most important forest ecosystems despite years of efforts to turn that trend around.

“We are rapidly losing one of our most effective tools for combating climate change, protecting biodiversity, and supporting the health and livelihoods of millions of people.”

Brazil remains the country with the most tropical forest loss. In 2022 it accounted for 43% of the global total.

Its 1.8 million hectares lost resulted in 1.2Gt of CO2 emissions.

Forest loss in other areas

Forest loss increased in the two countries with the most tropical forest, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The analysis stated that non fire-related losses in Brazil are most often due to deforestation.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, half a million hectares were destroyed in 2022.

The analysis stated that the main drivers for the destruction included: Subsistence agriculture and the small scale production of charcoal made by cutting and burning timber.

Forest loss also rapidly increased in other nations like Ghana and Bolivia. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Malaysia have managed to keep rates near record-low levels.

The analysis stated that forest fires in tropical nations like Bolivia, are usually set for “agricultural purposes”, such as regenerating grasslands for grazing and clearing for cropland, or to claim land.

Other countries rounding out the “top 10” in tropical forest loss worldwide last year include: Peru (3.9 %); Colombia (3.1%); Laos (2.3%); Cameroon (1.9%); Papua New Guinea (1.8%); and Malaysia (1.7%).

The rest of the world combined accounted for just under 15% of forest lost in 2022.