Forests

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

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

Omri Wallach

Reporter, Visual Capitalist

Share:
Our Impact
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Forests is affecting economies, industries and global issues
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Forests

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
1700
As civilizations spread, crops accounted for 3% of Earth's habitable land. Image: Visual Capitalist
1800
By 1800, the world had lost 700 million hectares of grassland. Image: Visual Capitalist
1900
Almost 1 billion hectares of forest disappeared between 10,000 years ago and 1900. Image: Visual Capitalist
1950
By 1950, grassland only accounted for 12% of Earth's habitable land. Image: Visual Capitalist
2018
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
Have you read?

Discover

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
ForestsFuture of the Environment
Share:
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

The world's largest temperate rainforest has just been protected - and it's not where you think it is

Beverly Law

February 2, 2023

2:11
About Us
Events
Media
Partners & Members
Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2023 World Economic Forum