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Treecover / Forests

There is a long tradition in the emotional relationship between people and forests. We can get an understanding of the extent of the global tree cover from satellite sensors such as NASA’s MODIS Calculating the average tree cover in an area allows us to estimate the extent of the world’s forests. This visualisation of the global tree cover shows the quantitative distribution of the world’s forests.

The visualisation is an image of the fragile forest-landscapes which make up approximately 31 per cent of our land area. They are the world’s lungs, providing home for a multitude of the most complex and diverse ecosystems on the planet. However, they are also the basis for the livelihoods of many people, and an important economic factor, and are therefore under threat of deforestation – especially in the tropics – which make up a lot of the spaces in this map.


Purchase map use license. Includes high-resolution map.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

This map shows the land surface resized according to its treecover. Each transformed grid cell in the map is proportional to the area covered by trees in 2005. 

Data sources
This map uses data based on satellite data by NASA’s MODIS sensor (accessed January 2011).

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