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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets
  • Lesson Plans

Regional Focus

South and Central America, Oceania, Asia



Tracking Global Changes in Forest Cover

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  • In this activity, students will analyze two graphs that show the change in the annual loss of forests in Indonesia and Brazil. 
Teaching Tips


  • The Educator Materials document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions.
  • The materials are available in English and Spanish.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The data is from 2000 to 2012, so the trends in deforestation are not up to date.
  • Students should know how to read a bar graph.


  • Social studies or civics classes could learn more about the policies that Brazil enacted to preserve forests. Students could discuss how the policies have changed and if similar policies could help preserve forests in other countries.
  • Biology classes could discuss how deforestation impacts biodiversity because of habitat loss.
  • Other resources on this topic include this article about deforestation and Indigenous communities, this Google Earth timelapse video on forests around the world, and this article about the importance of primary forests

Scientist Notes
There is no contradiction in the resource, the datasets used are accurate to estimate forest loss over time, but more recent data may show different trends. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Mathematics
    • Statistical Reasoning: Statistics and Probability: Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (9-12)
      • HSS.ID.C.7 Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
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