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Most Forested Countries in the World

Since the last ice age, Earth's forest cover has diminished by 20 million sq km or 2 billion hectares. Half of this loss occurred since 1900, attributed to expanding agriculture and industrialization. Currently, forests span approximately 30% of Earth's land, totaling around 40 million sq km, with uneven distribution globally. The VisualCapitalst team created visualization of the top 15 countries with the largest forested areas, measured in square kilometers using World Bank data.

Countries with the largest forests

As expected, the world's largest country, Russia, boasts the most extensive forested area. Approximately 50% of Russia is covered by forests, amounting to roughly 8 million sq km. This surpasses the total land area of all other countries worldwide, except for China, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Australia. Notably, one-fifth of the world's entire forested area is located within the borders of Russia.

Percentage of World Forests

The majority of Russia's expansive forests consist of boreal types, adapted to endure the colder and drier climates prevalent in the country. These forests comprise a mix of deciduous and coniferous species, including larch, pine, spruce, and oak.

Brazil secures the second position, boasting nearly 5 million km2 of forest cover, constituting approximately 12% of the world's total forests. This significant expanse is primarily attributed to the extensive presence of the Amazon rainforest within its borders, a size nearly double that of Saudi Arabia, the 12th largest country globally.

The Amazon rainforest also plays a pivotal role in contributing to the forest cover of neighboring countries. Peru, ranked 10th on the list, along with Colombia (13th), Bolivia (14th), and Venezuela (15th), benefit substantially from the Amazon's vast green canopy.

Canada and the United States claim the third and fourth positions, both featuring approximately 3 million km2 of forest cover. These vast wooded areas span both coasts, extending seamlessly across their shared border.

China secures the fifth position with forests covering slightly over 2 million km2. Collectively, these top five countries account for more than half of the world's total forested areas.

Expanding the scope to the top 10 countries, which encompasses Australia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Indonesia, India, and Peru, the total forest cover extends to slightly more than two-thirds of the world's forests. Broadening the view to the top 20 countries captures a substantial 80% of the Earth's overall forested expanse.

Top 10 countries by forest area sq km / percent of world's forests

  1. Russia 8,153,116 / 20.1%
  2. Brazil 4,953,914 / 12.3%
  3. Canada 3,468,911 / 8.6%
  4. U.S. 3,097,950 / 7.7%
  5. China 2,218,578 / 5.5%
  6. Australia 1,340,051 / 3.3%
  7. Democratic Republic of Congo 1,250,539 / 3.1%
  8. Indonesia 915,277 / 2.3%
  9. India 724,264 / 1.8%
  10. Peru 721,575 / 1.8%
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