EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Biodiversity threatened by increasing mountain forest loss

Xinyue He1,2, Zhenzhong Zeng2, Joseph Holden3, and Dominick Spracklen1
Xinyue He et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK (
  • 2School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
  • 3water@leeds, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Mountain forests are currently experiencing severe losses in many parts of the world because they are sensitive to climate change and anthropogenic pressures. However, the distribution of the world’s mountain forest loss and how it has changed in the 21st century remain unclear. Here, we conducted a global analysis on mountain forest loss by using multiple high-resolution remote sensing datasets. Our results show that the total forest loss over global mountains during 2001–2018 was 78 million ha (7% of the mountain forest area in 2000) and that annual mountain forest loss tripled by 2016. Spatially, the largest loss area occurred in the tropical and boreal mountain forests, particularly in Southeast Asia, Russia, and Canada. We find many mountain regions with considerable losses in forest cover are also biodiversity hotspots, suggesting these areas need more attention and require protection. Our findings indicate that the interaction of mountain forest changes and biodiversity impact should be incorporated into future impact assessments.

How to cite: He, X., Zeng, Z., Holden, J., and Spracklen, D.: Biodiversity threatened by increasing mountain forest loss, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6819,, 2023.