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Turkey becomes top country in Europe in annual net gain in forest area

Turkey becomes top country in Europe in annual net gain in forest area

Turkey has become the top country in Europe in an annual net gain in the forest area between 2010 and 2020, according to recent data by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 report, China ranked first in the category, followed by Australia, India, Chile and Vietnam. The other countries in the top 10 are the United States, France, Italy and Romania.

The report said that the world has lost a net area of 178 million hectares of forest since 1990; however, the rate of net forest loss decreased substantially over 30 years due to “a reduction in deforestation in some countries and increases in the forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests.”

In the last decade, Asia had the highest net gain of forest area in 2010–2020, followed by Oceania and Europe. Africa suffered from the highest net loss of forest area, which was followed by South America. The top five countries for average annual net loss of forest area in the last decade were Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Angola and Tanzania.

“An estimated 420 million ha (hectares) of forest has been lost worldwide through deforestation since 1990, but the rate of forest loss has declined substantially. In the most recent five-year period (2015–2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, down from 12 million hectares in 2010–2015,” the report said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on the report, General Director of Forestry Bekir Karacabey said that Turkey is one of the rare countries that is increasing its forest area, adding that this success was confirmed by a recent FAO report.

“This means official approval of Turkey’s annual net gain in the forest area. Over 18 years, we increased our forest areas by 2.1 million hectares. Our aim for 2023 is to reach 23.4 million hectares of forest area, which corresponds to one-third of the country’s total area,” Karacabey said.