The World’s Forests Mapped

A forest is an area of land covered by trees. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, forests cover approximately 3.9 million square kilometers (or 15.1 sq mi), which is about 30% of the Earth’s land surface.

Forests at various latitudes and elevations create precisely diverse biomes: boreal, temperate, tropical forests. Below, the forest atlas of the world of the main biomes of our planet.

World

Amongst world regions, Europe (including the European part of Russia) estimates for 1/4 of the total forest area, accompanied by South America and then North and Central America. South America is the continent with the highest percentage of forest cover, and Asia is the continent with the lowest rate of forest cover (less than 20 percent of land area).

Below is the world map of various forest types.

Global map of forest types
Needleleaf forests

Needleleaf forests spread mostly in areas that have lengthy, severe winters. These forests spread over Canada, northern Europe, and Russian Siberia.

Scarce needle-leaf forests grow in warmer territories. For instance, the Southeastern U.S. has vast forests of pines, such as Pinus taeda and Pinus palustris.

Map of needle-leaf forests
Evergreen broadleaf forests

Evergreen broad-leaved forests are abounding in the subtropical, tropical and equatorial regions of our planet.

Map of evegreen broadleaf forests of our planet
Deciduous broadleaf forests

Deciduous broadleaf forests are a type of temperate forest ‘dominated’ by trees that drop their leaves every year. They are growing in regions with mild, humid summers and chilly winters.

Map of deciduous broad-leaf forests
Mixed forests

Mixed forest is a vegetational transition between needleleaf forests and broadleaf deciduous forests.

Map of mixed forests
Maps of other types of vegetation

North America

North America has approximately 15.5% of the world’s entire forest cover (~850 million hectares).

The forests of North America contain arborescent representatives of 158 genera; 142 genera occur in the Atlantic and 50 genera in the Pacific region. Of the Atlantic genera, 48 are not represented in the United States outside the semi-tropical region of Florida. In the U.S. grow more than 640 various tree species.

The United States has about 301.5 million hectares of forest or 72% of the original forest cover that grows before European settlement. Canada has about 402.7 million hectares of forest, or 91% of its original forest cover, more than any other nation in the world.

Forests of North America
Needleleaf forests of North America

North America’s boreal forest is formed of such evergreen conifers as fir and spruce.

The coastal forest is a unique needle leaf evergreen forest of the Pacific Northwest coastal belt, covering in latitude from northern California to southern Alaska. Here, in a gathering of a large percentage of precipitation, moderate temperatures and high humidity are the densest of all needle leaf forests, with impressive spruce, fir, and cedar specimens. At the farthest southern end, the coastal needle leaf forest comprises the planet’s biggest trees – Sequoia sempervirens.

Map of needleleaf forests of North America
Evergreen broadleaf forests of North America

Small woodlands of evergreen broadleaf tree species like evergreen oak and magnolia are found in the U.S. in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.

Map of Evergreen broadleaf forests of North America
Deciduous broadleaf forests of North America

North America’s deciduous broad-leaf forests stretch across 25 U.S. states from Florida up to New England and Canada and reach as far west as Minnesota and Texas. These forests cover approximately 2.5 million square kilometers.

Map of deciduous broad-leaf forests of North America
Mixed forests of North America
Mixed forests of North America of North America
Maps of other types of vegetation of North America

South America

South America’s total forest area is about 3 million square miles (7.8 million square kilometers) and occupies about 21 percent of the continent, representing around 27 percent of the global forest area.

Map of forests of South America
Evergreen broadleaf forests of South America

Evergreen broadleaf forests are growing in the Amazonian lowlands, and from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to the Rio Grande do Sul state in the south of Brazil (the Atlantic Forest).

Plant families mainly include Anareadiaceae, Bignoniaceae, Bombacaceae, Bromeliaceae, Malpighiaceae and Malvaceae.

Evergreen broadleaf forests of South America
Deciduous broadleaf forests of South America

Tropical deciduous forests are located in the Pacific watershed of Ecuador, in Venezuela, and on the Brazilian coast from about 7°S to the Tropic of Capricorn.

Deciduous broad-leaf forests of South America

Temperate deciduous forests are found on low altitude coastal mountains in southern Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

Mixed forests of South America
Mixed forests of South America
Maps of other types of vegetation of South America

Europe

Nowadays, forests amount to around 1.8 million kilometers making the European continent one of the most forest-rich territories globally, with more than forty percent of the area covered by forests.

Forests in Europe
Needle-leaf forests of Europe

In Europe, needle-leaf forests are predominantly found in northern Europe as well on all of the mountain ridges. Coniferous forests cover about 29.6% of the Europe.

Map of needleleaf forests of Europe
Deciduous broad-leaf forests of Europe

Deciduous forests of Europe includes forests dominated by mixtures of Carpinus betulus, Quercus petraea, Quercus robur, Fraxinus (Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus angustifolia), Acer (Acer campestre, Acer pseudoplatanus), and Tilia cordata.

Map of deciduous broad-leaf forests of Europe
Mixed forests of Europe
Map of mixed forests of Europe
Maps of other types of vegetation of Europe

Middle East

While the Middle East is usually associated with deserts, burning sun, and water deficiency, it has had dense forests and grasslands in ancient times. They have decreased during the last centuries. Nowadays, the Middle East has become drier, but forests, however, survive.

Needle-leaf forests of Middle East
Deciduous broad-leaf forests of Middle East
Maps of other types of vegetation of Middle East

Asia

East Asia has the largest forest area (~2.4 million km2), 16% of these forests are listed as primary forest, with no noticeable marks of human activities. It is lower than the global mean of 36% due to high population density. At the same time, 18% are intensively regulated forests of indigenous species, and 9% are listed as forest plantations with alien species.

Map of Asian forests
Needle-leaf forests of Asia

Coniferous forests in Asia are mainly found in Siberia, mountainous regions, and territories with a monsoon climate.

Evergreen broadleaf forests of Asia

Most evergreen broadleaf forests in Asia are growing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.

Map of Evergreen broadleaf forests of Asia
Deciduous broad-leaf forests of Asia

In China, intensive agriculture has cleared the natural presence of broadleaves, while in Southwest Asia, this forest is fragmented. Oaks dominate the upper layer are frequently mixed with alders, ashes, maples, and poplars.

In Japan, the deciduous broadleaf forests are presented by maple (Acer carpinofolium), beeches (Fagus crenata, Fagus japonica), and oak (Quercus crispula) wich mingle with ashes, cherries, and magnolias.

Map of deciduous broad-leaf forests of Asia
Mixed forests of Asia
Map of Asian mixed forests
Maps of other types of vegetation of Asia

Africa

The forests of Africa show a complicated image. The most impressive picture appears that only Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo yet preserve more than half of their primary forest cover; most of the other 32 nations have less than 1/5 remaining.

Needleleaf forests of Africa

In Africa, needle-leaf forests are largely represented by Mediterranean pines, cypresses, and cedar (Cedrus atlantica) on the Atlante Range.

Evergreen broadleaf forests of Africa

Tropical forests occupy in Central Africa with outliers in West Africa and Madagascar but have lower diversity than South American and Southeast Asian forests. Commonly widespread plants are within the Lauraceae, Myristicaceae, Myristicaceae, Myrtaceae families and oil palms (Elaeis guineensis, Raphia vinifera).

The Congo Basin, covering about 1800041 square kilometers, is Africa’s biggest contiguous forest and the 2nd-largest tropical evergreen broadleaf forests on Earth.

Deciduous broad-leaf forests of Africa

In Africa, the deciduous forest is composed of Leguminosae. The main species that occur are Brachystegia, Colophospermum mopane, Isoberlinia, Parinari, and Uapca.

Mixed forests of Africa
Maps of other types of vegetation

Australia and New Zealand

Australia has about 1.46 million kilometers of indigenous forest, representing approximately 19 percent of Australia’s territory. The preponderance of Australia’s trees typically eucalypts.

Needle-leaf forests of Australia and New Zealand

The region’s conifers are predominantly found in New Zealand. New Zealand’s native needle-leaf species belong to 4 families (Araucariaceae, Phyllocladaceae, Cupressaceae, Podocarpaceae), ten genera, and 20 species.

Evergreen broadleaf forests of Australia and New Zealand

Australia has barely any native deciduous trees. Most Australian species evergreens.

Only a few native species to Australia are deciduous (Toona ciliata, Melia azedarach, Adansonia gregorii).

Deciduous broad-leaf forests of Australia and New Zealand
Mixed forests of Australia and New Zealand
Maps of other types of vegetation of Australia and New Zealand
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