Fact Sheet: Reforestation

Forests worldwide support vast ecosystems, with many species completely reliant on them for their survival. Forests are also extremely important to humanity, providing health benefits, income, food, and more. Despite all the benefits forests provide, they have been disappearing at alarming rates for far too long.

Reforestation is an effective method to fight against climate change while also maintaining the many benefits forests provide. These ten facts highlight some of the social and environmental benefits forests provide, and statistics on deforestation and reforestation.

  1. Worldwide forest cover shrinks by an average of 4.7 million hectares per year (12 pp. 125)
  2. A tree must live for at least 10-20 years to have a meaningful effect on the environment (2)
  3. Forests are home to an estimated 80% of the world’s terrestrial species (3)
  4. Throughout 2015-2020, 10 million hectares of trees were removed from forests around the world each year. Only 5 million hectares of trees were planted each year throughout the same period (4)
  5. Forests are extremely important to humanity’s health and wellbeing. They provide tens of millions of jobs, are a vital part of the food chain, and over 28,000 species of forest plants are used in medicines (5 pp.12-15)
  6. A study found that urban reforestation projects improved the mental health of office workers who could view green spaces from their office (6)
  7. Forests play a vital role in regulating water cycles and soil quality (7)
  8. Adding 10% more green cover in cities and towns could potentially reduce the surface temperature of the area by 2.2 °C (8)
  9. Plants found in forests release phytoncides, antimicrobial compounds. Studies have found that exposure to phytoncides can reduce stress, boost the immune system, and lower blood pressure as well as heart rate. (9)
  10. 2,000 years ago, 80% of Western Europe was covered by forests. Today, only 34% is covered by forests. (10)