- 28.7 percentage
- Paraguay ()
According to Global Forest Watch (GFW), among countries containing at least 100,000 ha (247,105 acres) of tropical primary forest, the country that has proportionately lost the most of that forest since tracking began is Paraguay. This South American nation has seen a reduction of just under 1 million ha (2.47 million acres ) of primary forest between 2002 and 2019, compared to its coverage in 2001. While this puts it in ninth place in terms of total area lost overall, by percentage that equates to a decline of 28.7% (almost one-third) of Paraguay’s entire primary forest over two decades. The data behind these calculations is collected by the University of Maryland, working with Google.
Only two smaller countries (neither of which reach the GFW’s 100,000-ha threshold) have lost a higher proportion of their primary forest in 2002–19: the Caribbean islands of Dominica (43.7%) and Haiti (32.9%).
By area, Brazil (which holds around 60% of the Amazon rainforest within its borders) has seen the most deforestation between 2002 and 2019, with a reduction of 24.5 million ha (60.6 million acres); however by virtue of the size of Brazil and how much primary forest it contains, proportionately this “only ” represents 7.1% of its 2001 baseline forest cover.
GFW (part of the World Resources Institute) focuses on deforestation in the tropics as the vast majority of tree loss in temperate and boreal regions is periodic – e.g., the result of either cyclical forestry (where trees are replanted) or natural events such as wildfires (where the forest will recover). By contrast, in tropical regions primary forest is more likely to be lost on a permanent basis as a result of conversion to agricultural land.