The Impact of Deforestation on Carbon Storage

This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

The following content is sponsored by The LEAF Coalition
graphic showing the impacts of deforestation both short and long term

The Impact of Deforestation on Carbon Storage

A one degree change in temperature could have catastrophic consequences.

One of the most notable influences on rising global average temperatures comes from deforestation. In fact, combined emissions from deforestation are higher than the annual emissions of any other country (apart from the U.S. and China) and contribute to roughly 12% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions.

This graphic from The LEAF Coalition takes a closer look at the impact deforestation has on global greenhouse gas emissions through carbon storage.

The Short and Long-Term Impacts

The devastating impact deforestation has on the environment cannot be understated. By some estimates, 30% of the globe’s carbon emissions are absorbed by forests each year. Yet 3.75 million hectares of tropical primary rainforest were lost in 2021, equating to 10 football pitches per minute.

However, the problem deforestation poses is actually two-fold—carbon stocks in the short-term and carbon sequestration in the long-run.

Forests have powerful carbon stocking capabilities. This refers to their ability to store carbon in biomass like their roots, trunks, and branches. Here’s how global carbon stocking by ecosystems compare:

EcosystemEstimated Carbon Stock (Gt)Annual Loss Rate
Tropical moist forests295 Gt0.45%
Boreal forests283 Gt0.18%
Temperate broadleaf forests133 Gt0.35%
Temperate (Read more...)