For all the talk about the loss of the Brazilian rainforests, a new study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the United States and Canada should take a harder look at deforestation within their own borders.

The study, using satellite imagery, found that the globe lost about 400,000 square miles of forest between 2000 and 2005 – an estimated loss of 3.1 percent (see articles here and here).

Among the findings:

  • Brazil lost 165,000 square kilometers, about 3.6-percent of its total forest cover.
  • Canada lost 160,000 square kilometers, about 5.2 percent, and the United States lost 120,000 square kilometers, about 6 percent – a land area about the size of Pennsylvania.
  • Thirty percent of total global forest loss from 2000 to 2005 occurred in North America alone.
  • Losses in North and South America combined amounted to half of the global losses.
  • Africa lost the least amount of forested lands.