Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Largest forests on earth are at risk thanks to industrialization and agriculture.

It is no small thing to say that forests have an important role in the health of the planet. Aside from being a source of paper and fuel, trees are the second-largest contributor to all of the earth’s oxygen, second only to the ocean. But forests as we know them are always at risk. Half of the forestry that the earth has lost since the last ice age has occurred in the past 100 years, thanks largely to industrialization and agriculture.

But where are the world’s biggest forests located and how big are they compared to all land on earth?

  1. Venezuela

This Latin American country’s forestry covers half of its territory. Venezuela’s forests span 178,000 sq. miles (462,000 sq. km), which make up 1.1 percent of the world’s total forestry. But between 1990 and 2010, the country lost a staggering 11.1 percent of its forest cover to deforestation.

The keel-billed toucan, a colorful bird species native to the forests of Venezuela, Southern Mexico, and Colombia. Interestingly, Venezuela is also home to the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel Falls.

  1. Bolivia

The fifth-largest country in South America is home to 196,000 sq. miles (506,000 sq. km) of the world’s forestry. It is one of nine countries that share the biggest forest in the world, the Amazon rainforest. Bolivia’s borders contain 7.7 percent of the Amazon.

Bolivia is home to around 2,194 species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds, making it the 12th most biodiverse country in the world.

  1. Colombia

Over 54 percent of Colombia is forested, with a total area of 228,000 sq. miles (590,000 sq. km). The country has the third-largest forest area in South America and is home to more than 300,000 species of flora and fauna.

Surprisingly, Colombia has dedicated only 1.2 percent of its territory to the agriculture and production of coffee, despite the fact that Colombia produces nearly 10 percent of worldwide coffee production.

  1. Mexico

The 13th-largest country by area and the 10th-most-populous country, Mexico is home to a forest that spans 253,000 sq. miles (656,000 sq. km). The Mexican Forest is also home to the Mayan ruins.

Mexico’s forestry is quite prominently divided into two categories: dry and humid. A humid Mexican forest as seen from Ajusco, a lava dome volcano that has created nutrient-rich soil that provides fuel for the local flora.

  1. Angola

The 11th spot on this list is taken up by Angola, a country on Africa’s west coast that is home to 255,000 sq. miles (661,000 sq. km) of forestry and the beautiful Ruacana Falls.

Angola has large areas of miombo forest remaining, which contains tropical and subtropical flora. Angola’s forests contain 4,385 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass.

  1. Peru

Cracking the top 10 is Peru, the 19th-largest country in the world with an area of 279,000 sq. miles (722,000 sq. km) dedicated to forestry, which is locally known as the Peruvian jungle. Peru is also home to Machu Picchu, an Inca citadel that was built during the 15th century.

More than 60% of Peru is covered by tropical forests, and it is the second-largest Amazonian national territory.

  1. India

The ninth spot on this list takes us to Asia, where the country of India boasts a forested area of 280,000 sq. miles (725,000 sq. km). India is also home to the Sundarbans, which is the largest mangrove forest in the world.

Every year, people of India celebrate Van Mahotsava, the Tree Festival, which is a tree-planting festival that spans a week at the beginning of July.

  1. Indonesia

When it comes to flora and fauna, the country of Indonesia is quite astonishing. The nation is home to almost 15 percent of the world’s known plants, mammals, and birds, all of which are contained in the country’s 353,000 sq. miles (916,000 sq. km) of forests.

In 2013, Indonesia and parts of Malaysia were blanketed in dangerous fumes as fires burned through the Indonesian forests. The event drastically affected wildlife in the area.

  1. DRC

As the second-largest country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo contains a staggering 483,000 sq. miles (1,2 million sq. km) of forestry. The country is also home to the oldest national park in Africa, Virunga National Park.

The DRC accounts for 60 percent of Central Africa’s lowland forest cover, which is commonly known as the equatorial rainforest.

  1. Australia

Sixth place on this list is occupied by the world’s sixth-largest country. Australia is the oldest and driest inhabited continent, but it still contains a whopping 518,000 sq. miles (1,3 million sq. km) of forestry. This is 16 percent of its land area.

Australia’s forests comprise 3 percent of the world’s forest area. But due to its harsh, dry environment, Australia’s forests are subject to many pressures, such as drought and fire.

  1. China

China is the third-largest country in the world, spanning five time zones with a forest area of 857,000 sq. miles (2,2 million sq. km). China’s forests are home to more than 2,800 species of plants as well as the more commonly known endangered giant panda.

Unlike other countries that have cut down their forests at alarming rates, China has achieved the most extensive reforestation of any country in the world. In 1990, forestry occupied only 16.7 percent of China’s territory, compared to 22.2 percent in 2015.

  1. USA

The United States is home to a staggering 1.2 million sq. miles (3.1 million sq. km) of forestry. It is estimated that the forests of the mainland covered 1.5 million sq. miles (4 million sq. miles) before European settlement.

The forests of the US comprise 7.7 percent of the world’s total forest area. Several of the country’s forests extend across the border into Canada.

  1. Canada

Canada’s forestry spans a remarkable area of 1.3 million sq. miles (3.5 million sq. km). It is the world’s largest intact forest ecosystem and represents 8.6 percent of the world’s total forest area.

Canada’s forests also contain 25 percent of the world’s wetlands and have more surface freshwater than anywhere else on earth.

  1. Brazil

The fifth-largest country in the world presides over two-thirds of the earth’s biggest forest: The Amazon. Within Brazil’s borders, the Amazon spans an astounding 1.9 million sq. miles (5 million sq. km), which accounts for 12 percent of the world’s forests.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, deforestation in Brazil has risen rampantly in the last few years. Every minute, an area roughly equivalent to five football fields is cut down to make space for agriculture and urbanization.

  1. Russia

Not coincidentally, the largest country in the world also has the largest area of forestry. Russia’s forests cover an impressive 3.2 million sq. miles (8.2 million sq. km), which accounts for one-fifth of the world’s total forested area and spans half of the Russian land territory.

Due to the country’s stark weather, Russia’s forestry is largely made up of larch, oak, and pine trees. The leaves of a pine tree, a coniferous tree species that can withstand colder, drier climates.

 

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