A recent United Nations study shows that the CNMI has one of the highest forest covers among all countries and territories all over the world, even as some 13 million hectares of the world's forests are lost each year.
While the 2005 Global Forest Resources Assessment showed that deforestation rates have fallen since the 1990-2000 period, the study showed that approximately 6 million hectares of primary forests-those with no visible signs of past or present human activities, which are considered the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet-are lost each year.
Despite this, the study showed that the CNMI has 72.4 percent of forest cover, ranking 15th among countries and territories that have the highest forest covers all over the globe. Among all tropical countries, the CNMI ranked 12th.
Palau also made it on the list of countries with the highest forest cover as a percentage of total land cover, ranking sixth among all countries with its 87.6 percent of forest cover. Palau maintained the same rank among all tropical countries. The Federated States of Micronesia ranked third, with 90.6-percent of forest cover.
News reports on the results of the study recently appeared online at MONGABAY.COM. The study, conducted by the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture, reportedly showed the United States ranking seventh for largest annual loss of primary forests. It said the United States lost an average of 215,200 hectares of such lands during the 2000-2005 period. Central America reportedly has the highest deforestation rate by region, losing 285,000 hectares of its forests each year.