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UN Report Says Deforestation Rate Alarming

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization says deforestation is continuing at an alarming rate even though net forest loss has slowed down.

In its Global Forest Resources Assessment for 2005, the FAO says the net loss of forest over the past five years was more than seven million hectares a year - an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama.

It says millions more hectares are deforested every year, but new planting and the expansion of existing forests make up the difference.

FAO officials say the report provides a comprehensive look at how the world manages and uses its forests and shows progress is being made in some places. The FAO says forest areas are expanding in Europe and Asia. But it says South America and Africa suffered the largest net loss of forests.