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Health Editor’s Note: The amount of land that has been lost to forestation in the Amazon forest is beyond mind-boggling. The Amazon is a distinct ecosystem which should have been left alone. Enough, no more than enough!…Carol 

The Amazon Has Lost More Than Ten Million Football Fields of Forest in a Decade

by Liberty Vittert/ The Conversation

This year, I was on the judging panel for the Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Decade.



Much like Oxford English Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” competition, the international statistic is meant to capture the zeitgeist of this decade. The judging panel accepted nominations from the statistical community and the public at large for a statistic that shines a light on the decade’s most pressing issues.

On Dec. 23, we announced the winner: the 8.4 million soccer fields of land deforested in the Amazon over the past decade. That’s 24,000 square miles, or about 10.3 million American football fields.

Forest Chart
(Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: Mongabay)

This statistic, while giving only a snapshot of the issue, provides insight into the dramatic change to this landscape over the last 10 years. Since 2010, mile upon mile of rainforest has been replaced with a wide range of commercial developments, including cattle ranching, logging and the palm oil industry.

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