Forests, land use change, and water
A forest is a biotic community predominated by trees and woody vegetation types that are significantly taller, greater, thicker, and deeper than other vegetation types and generally covers a large area (Chang, 2003). Forests cover approximately 26.2% of the world, with 45.7% of Latin American and the Caribbean being covered, 35% of East Asia and the Pacific, and 35% of the European Union. Canada and the United States (U.S) combined account only for 6.8% of the world’s forests while Africa has even less 5.7% (Forest Types of the World, 2013). In the U.S., forests cover about one-third of its land (Sedell et.al., 2000; Jones et. al., 2009), totaling about 300 million ha (USDA, 2001). Forested areas in the temperate zone have not changed much in recent decades, but continuing deforestation of tropical forests, about half of world total, is of great concern (World Resources Institute, 1996).