Chapter 9. Forests


Category Description

Forests are vital for economic development and human well-being. Forests, for example, offer a source of income for over 1.6 billion people globally (UN, 2016, p. 1). Forests also regulate the global climate and provide important habitat for more than 80% of terrestrial animals, plants, and insects (UN, 2016, p. 1; WWF, 2017b).Understanding where changes in forest cover occur is thus essential for sustainable development (FAO, 2016a).The Forests issue category uses one indicator to measure the threats to forests worldwide: tree cover loss. We include tree cover loss as an indicator for forest health due to its significant implications for ecosystem health, habitat preservation, climate change mitigation, and other environmental services.

Indicators Included

Tree cover loss: We measure the total area of tree loss in areas with greater than 30% tree canopy cover divided by the forest cover in the year 2000. We apply a five-year rolling average to better capture trends in forest management strategies.

Forest indicators

Tree cover loss

%, 5-year