Livestock. All this data is very unreliable, especially for animals living in the wild, but some rough estimates were made, and we know that there are probably 30 times more mammals kept as livestock than wild land mammals, and 2 times more birds kept as livestock than wild birds. Also, there are as many cats and dogs as animals in the wild.
These “quantities” are actually a total mass of carbon, which according to the Source make roughly 15% of total body mass. So, there might be lots of chicken, but they don’t weight as much as cows. The same with little wild animals – there might be more rats than cows.
Also, some types of animals were not taken into account, for example, reptiles, arthropods, sea mammals. I decided to concentrate on mammals and birds living above the ground. I’d include reptiles, but there are no reliable estimations about them.
What: Mass of carbon inside mammals and birds. When: Data were taken from a study published in 2018, which used data from FAO. So, I guess it’s not very old. Where: Land and above. Source: Bar-On, Yinon M et al. “The biomass distribution on Earth.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 115,25 (2018). Also, https://www.worldatlas.com used to estimate the mass of cats and dogs which were not included in the paper above.
If we measure total hectares, then China is leading, followed by Canada, USA, Russia and India. Those countries are big, that’s why they manage to plant a lot. However this “planting” appeared to be a bad measure of how “forest loving” a country is because Brazil and Indonesia are significantly reducing their total forest area.
If we take the percentage of total land, then Sweden is leading, they planted 14,5% of their land area with trees. I even googled to see if this enormous number could be real, and seems it is, they even achieved Guinness world record in plating. However, this planting is made only to recover for what IKEA used because the total volume of forests increased only a bit in Sweden. It seems that Finland has quite a similar situation.
What: Planted forest and total forest area changes When: 1992 to 2017 Where: Top 15 by each measure. Some countries are not included, because for 1992 they did not have existing data, e.g. Czech and Slovak republics were still Czechoslovakia. It might be possible that one such country could appear in the top 15 by %. Source: FAO
After zooming in the axis, the constant decrease is clear. I don’t know whether 129 million hectares is a big deal or not, but we were happier if the trend were the opposite. However people are also planting forest, and since they cut more and more, they plant more and more too. Now the rate of planting is less than the rate of cutting, but I believe one day the trend will be reversed.
What: Land used as forest and types of forest. Mind the axis on the left graph which does not start at zero. When: 1990-2017 Where: The world Source: FAO
It’s true! And some crops are even grown for feeding the cattle, so, this division between land used to feed humans and land used to feed animals which are used to feed humans is even bigger than it seems from the first glimpse. But would we really save energy and resources if we all turn vegan?
What: Comparative shares of land area used as cropland and meadows & pastures. When: 2017 Where: The world Source: FAO
I was sure, that we have lots of buildings, but in reality, we have less than 0,7% of the land area covered with them. However, combining buildings and cropland, we changed almost 22% of the land area. Is that a lot? Subjective question!
The real percentage might be higher because I did not count grasslands used as pastures (which might have been forests before becoming grasslands), changing inland waters (shrinking Sea of Azov for example), growing deserts or barren land due to human activities. Let’s say, that those 22 percent is an obvious change even an alien would immediately identify with humans.
What: Land Cover according to European Spatial Agency Climate Change Initiative annual land cover maps, which were produced by the Université catholique de Louvain. When: 2015 Where: Land area of the whole planet including inland water. Source: FAO