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El Salvador Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 298,000 ha
% of land area: 14.4%

Primary forest cover: 6,000 ha
% of land area: 0.3%
% total forest area: 2.0%

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: -5,200 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -1.7%
Change in defor. rate since '90s: 18.0%
Total forest loss since 1990: -77,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990:-20.5%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990:0.0%

Forest Classification
Public: 72.5%
Private: 25.3%
Other: 2.2%
Production: 2%
Protection: n/a
Conservation: 2.3%
Social services: n/a
Multiple purpose: n/a
None or unknown: 95.6

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 298,000 ha
Primary: 6,000 ha
Modified natural: 286,000 ha
Semi-natural: n/a
Production plantation: 6,000 ha
Production plantation: n/a

Plantations, 2005: 6,000 ha
% of total forest cover: 2%
Annual change rate (00-05): n/a

Carbon storage
Above-ground biomass: n/a M t
Below-ground biomass: n/a M t

Area annually affected by
Fire: 1,000 ha
Insects: n/a
Diseases: n/a

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: n/a
Critically endangered: 1
Endangered: 6
Vulnerable: 19

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 682,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 4,519,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: n/a
Wood fuel: n/a
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): n/a
Total Value: n/a

More forest statistics for El Salvador

El Salvador is the second most deforested country in Latin America after Haiti. Almost 85 percent of its forested cover has disappeared since the 1960s, leaving about 5 percent of the land area forested. Less than 6,000 hectares are classified as primary forest.

Deforestation in El Salvador has had serious environmental, social, and economic impacts. Today over 50 percent of El Salvador is not even suitable for food cultivation, and much of the country is plagued with severe soil erosion. Denuded hillsides leave the country vulnerable to devastating mudslides—in
October 2005, landslides resulting from a series of storms killed more than 50 and required the evacuation of more than 34,000 residents. Degraded forest areas are more susceptible to fires—in 1998 fires caused more than $172 million in damage to forests and agricultural plots.

Today most deforestation in El Salvador results from the country's high population that relies heavily on the collection of fuelwood and subsistence hunting and agriculture. Although the government has protected areas of forest, forestry laws go unenforced due to lack of funds and management.

In total, El Salvador lost 20.5 percent of its forest cover between 1990 and 2005. The country's deforestation rate has increased by 18 percent since the close of the 1990s.

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Last updated: 6 Feb 2006