How much of the rainforest has been cleared since 1980?



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    It is hard to determine the rate of deforestation for the rainforest worldwide, although there are more specific rates for specific forests. A general estimate is that at one point in time the rainforest covered 14% of the earth, but now it only covers 6% and scientists believe the remaining rainforest can be consumed in the next forty years. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations makes a conservative estimate every decade on the rate of deforestation. NASA also measures the rate of deforestation by examining satellite imagery. During the 1980s the FAO estimates the rate of deforestation at 53,000 square miles per year during the 1980s. According to the FAO 200 million hectares of rainforest was lost between 1980 and 1995, although some reforestation efforts were made in the form of new forest plantations. In 2005 the FAO reported that the total rate of deforestation decreases at 13 million hectares a year. The FAO concludes that the increase in subsistence farming (in Africa and Asia) and large-scale ranching subsidies (Latin America and Asia) are the leading causes of deforestation. The estimates made by the FAO are considered conservative because their definition of a forest is inaccurate and does not distinguish between different types of forests and are based on the reports of individual countries, which often neglect illegal activities like illegal logging. Nonetheless, make sure and watch out for the next FAO measurement of the rate of deforestation for the previous decade!rainforest 

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