The world's 149 million total square kilometers of land is almost equally distributed among agricultural, forest, and other lands.
Agricultural land consumes a slightly disproportionate share at 38 percent of the world's land area. About one third of the agricultural land is used as arable land, two-thirds by permanent meadows and pastures, and the remaining 3 percent as "permanent crops." An examination of the cross-country distribution of agricultural land reveals that China is the world's leader in total agricultural land, whereas Russia--the largest country by total land mass--has half as much agriulcultural land as China.
Russia ranks first, however, by total forest area, with almost half of the country's land area occupied by forest, a critical driver of the Russian economy that is weakened by the activities of illegal logging activities. Total forest area worldwide decreased by nearly 3 percent during the last 20 years, losing a 1 percent share in the Earth's total land area. Forest area gains in Asia, Europe and North America during the period have been unable to compensate for the more than 10 percent decline in Africa's total forest land.
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