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Mexico Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 64,238,000 ha
% of land area: 33.7%

Primary forest cover: 32,850,000 ha
% of land area: 17.2%
% total forest area: 51.1%

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: -260,400 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -0.4%
Change in defor. rate since '90s: -21.1%
Total forest loss since 1990: -4,778,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990:-6.9%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: -395000 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -1.1%
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: 11.3%
Primary forest loss since 1990: -1,975,000 ha
Primary forest loss since 1990:-15.3%

Forest Classification
Public: 58.8%
Private: n/a
Other: 41.2%
Production: 0.1%
Protection: 1.5%
Conservation: 6.8%
Social services: n/a
Multiple purpose: 91.5%
None or unknown: n/a

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 64,238,000 ha
Primary: 32,850,000 ha
Modified natural: 30,330,000 ha
Semi-natural: n/a
Production plantation: 72,000 ha
Production plantation: 986,000 ha

Plantations, 2005: 1,058,000 ha
% of total forest cover: 1.6%
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: 194,000 ha
Insects: 8,000 ha
Diseases: 2,000 ha

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: 1,130
Critically endangered: 0
Endangered: 7
Vulnerable: 23

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 7,667,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 684,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: $545,479,000
Wood fuel: $19,216,000
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): $32,134,000
Total Value: $596,829,000

More forest statistics for Mexico

Rapid industrialization of Mexico and uncontrolled population growth over the last few decades have had a substantial impact on the country's environment and left less than 10 percent of its original tropical rainforests standing. Today Mexico's rainforests are limited to southeastern Mexico along the Gulf of Mexico and the state of Chiapas. These forests are most threatened by subsistence activities—especially fuelwood collection and land clearing for agriculture, using fire. In dry years these agricultural fires can spread into virgin forests. In 1998—a strong el Ni�o year—widespread fires destroyed over 1.5 million acres (600,000 ha) of forest and scrub land and sent choking smoke as far north as Canada. Several southern U.S. states issued health warnings and the U.S. sent firefighters and helicopters to battle the blazes.

Conflict in Chiapas has contributed to forest loss by displacing poor subsistence farmers, while military exercises by the army and rebel forces have degraded forest areas. Oil deposits in the Lacandon forest of Chiapas may soon be targeted in an era of high energy prices.

Illegal logging and poaching are widespread in Mexico. Criminal syndicates dominate the illicit timber trade, and parks are common targets for wood extraction.

Despite these threats, Mexico's forests have a great deal of potential for eco-tourism. While tourism, already one of Mexico's most important sources of income, has traditionally had negative impacts on the country's environment through land-clearing and pollution, ecologically sensitive tourism could provide economic justification for preserving wildlands. Mexico is one of world's five most biodiverse countries, home to at least 26,071 species of vascular plants, of which 48 percent are endemic, and to 2,765 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, 34 percent of which are endemic. Further, Mexico has a number of cultural and archeological attractions for visitors.

Environmentalism in Mexico is increasing, and the government has lately taken a number of steps to reduce pollution and illegal use of forest lands, including encouraging the expansion of plantations to supplant natural forest use. Although 5,925,000 hectares of primary forest disappeared between 1990 and 2005, deforestation rates of primary forest have decreased 15.3 percent since the close of the 1990s. Mexico announced its first-ever national environmental plan in 1996.

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Last updated: 5 Feb 2006