Comparing tree cover loss in Amazon countries, over time, is one way to evaluate the effects of various policies and economics shaping the Amazon forest biome.

(Global Forest Watch provides an easy way to access tree cover loss data.)

For example, in the following chart, we can see that in Peru, tree cover loss (as a percentage of tree cover) increased 20% in 2020 when compared to the year 2016. In 2020, Peru lost 279 kilohectares (kha) of tree cover, compared to 231 kha in 2016.

Bar chart showing the change tree cover loss in Amazon countries in 2020 versus 2016.

Perhaps surprisingly, Brazil’s tree cover loss decreased 37% in 2020 versus 2016. Brazil lost 3.29 million hectares (Mha) in 2020, versus 5.38 Mha in 2016.

What is tree cover loss?

Tree cover loss is not the same as deforestation. “Tree cover” can refer to trees in plantations as well as natural forests, and “tree cover loss” is the removal of tree canopy due to human or natural causes, including fire.

World Resources Institute

In other words, in 2020, the area of tree cover loss in Peru jumped substantially when compared to 2016. While in Brazil, the area of tree cover loss decreased substantially.

See: US$ 90 million in USAID forest projects in Peru

Bar chart of tree cover loss in Peru from 2016 through 2020.
Bar chart of tree cover loss in Brazil from 2016 through 2020.

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