Here's how the Earth's forests have changed since the last ice age

Stacked timber logs in the forests of Emerald Bay.

Many companies and economies rely on forests to produce and market goods. Image: Unsplash/Meritt Thomas

Omri Wallach
Reporter, Visual Capitalist
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Earth's forest loss over the last 10,000 years
1/3 of Earth's forests have disappeared over the last 10,000 years. Image: Visual Capitalist
Earth's surface by type
Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth's surface. Image: Visual Capitalist
10,000 years ago
10,000 years ago, forests accounted for over half of Earth's habitable land. Image: Visual Capitalist
5,000 years ago
In 5,000 years, 0.2 billion hectares of forest disappeared. Image: Visual Capitalist
As civilizations spread, crops accounted for 3% of Earth's habitable land. Image: Visual Capitalist
By 1800, the world had lost 700 million hectares of grassland. Image: Visual Capitalist
Almost 1 billion hectares of forest disappeared between 10,000 years ago and 1900. Image: Visual Capitalist
By 1950, grassland only accounted for 12% of Earth's habitable land. Image: Visual Capitalist
Half of Earth’s loss of forests occurred since 1900. Image: Visual Capitalist

Percentage of habitable land
Agriculture and urban areas have replaced large areas of forest and grassland. Image: Visual Capitalist
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November 29, 2023

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