Planet Earth

10 Forests in Urgent Need of Protection


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Photo Credits: CI / Sitha Som

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The UN declared 2011 the International Year of Forests, and to mark the occasion, Conservation International created this list of the ten most vulnerable forest hotspots globally.

CI defines these as forests that have lost more than 90% of their original habitat and which harbor at least 1,500 plant species that are found nowhere else in the world. Top of the list? The Indo-Burma wetlands, in southern Asia.

Photo Credits: CI / Art Wolfe

New Zealand's temperate rainforests have been damaged by invasive species brought by European settlers.

Photo Credits: CI

The natural forests of Borneo and Sumatra are falling fast due largely to the explosive growth of palm oil plantations; populations of the orangutan, found only in these forests, are in sharp decline.

Photo Credits: CI / Olivier Langrand

This dashing eagle is a resident of the Philippines, but the forests it lives in are being cleared for timber, farming, and urban development.

Photo Credits: CI / John Martin

The forests along South America's Atlantic coast have been chopped down to make way for plantations and urban expansion; less than 10 percent now remains.

Photo Credits: CI / Piotr Naskrecki

This red panda lives in the mountains of southwest China. The already-stressed temperate forests are now further threatened by dam building on the region's rivers.

Photo Credits: CI

The threatened forests of California are home to the the giant sequoia, the planet's largest living organism, and its taller but less massive relative, the coastal redwood.

Photo Credits: CI / Robin Moore

Although the coastal forests of eastern Africa are fragmented, they still contain remarkable animals--like the Zanzibar red colobus. Agriculture is the primary threat here.

Photo Credits: CI / Cristina Mittermeier

Only 10 percent of Madagascar's tropical forests remain, putting the country's unique animals, like its 50 lemur species, at risk.

Photo Credits: CI

The mountains of eastern Africa are separated geographically, yet have remarkably similar flora. Agricultural plantations threaten these ecosystems.

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