Historical GHG Emissions: Land Use and Forestry Across All Regions

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Land use, land use change, and forestry contribute to atmospheric GHG levels in significant ways, and forest management plays a key role in climate change mitigation policies. The global rate of deforestation in the 1990s is estimated to have been 13.1 million hectares/year (ha/yr). During the period 2000-2005, deforestation continued at a rate of 12.9 million ha/yr, with a net loss of 7.3 million ha/yr. This estimate accounts for afforestation efforts, landscape restoration, and the natural expansion of forests. The largest losses occurred in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia in the 1990s (8.9 million ha/yr net).

The precise effect on global GHG levels is uncertain. The Edgar database estimates that the share of CO2 emissions from deforestation (including loss of carbon from soil decay after logging) represented 7-16% of total GHG emissions, and 11-28% of fossil CO2 emissions. Other estimates vary. Understanding the factors driving data uncertainty is a key issue in this field, and is not fully resolved at this time.