Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

Tropical countries continue to lose their forests at a very high rate, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned. "During the 1990s, the loss of natural forests was 16.1 million hectares per year, of which 15.2 million occurred in the tropics," FAO stated. This corresponds to annual loss of 0.4 per cent globally and 0.8 per cent in the tropics. Deforestation was highest in Africa and South America. The findings are based on FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, the most recent and comprehensive assessment of the status and trends of forest resources worldwide. "The countries with the highest net loss of forest area between 1990 and 2000 are Argentina, Brazil, Congo, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mexico, Nigeria, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe," said FAO officials.

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