SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lost forest area the size of 330,000 soccer pitches in nearly two decades, data showed Wednesday, further accelerating the country's deforestation problem.
From 2001 to 2019, North Korea lost a total of 233,000 hectares of tree cover, according to data by Global Forest Watch, a global monitoring service.
The country's deforestation area increased sharply in 2019, recording the highest figure during the period with 27,500 hectares of tree loss.
The provinces of Ryanggang, Jagang and South Hamgyong were among the regions that faced the biggest loss, accounting for 64 percent of total tree cover loss during the period.
North Korea is known for severe deforestation due to excessive logging for fuel, which has been blamed for flooding and many other natural disasters. The North suffered from heavy rainfall and back-to-back typhoons last summer.
Leader Kim Jong-un has urged efforts to restore the forests since he came to power, ordering the construction of greenhouse farms and tree nurseries across the country and making on-site inspections to check on progress.
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