February 21, 2024

Sanctions may be pushing North Korea to cut down trees for construction

Loss of tree cover appears to have jumped four times within a year, but questions remain: Experts

Correction at 19:50 KST (March 8): This article has been amended to reflect that it would take five years, not 10, for satellite imagery to capture newly replanted trees in North Korea.

Experts warned that North Korea may have cut down drastically more trees driven by a lack of conventional building materials due to sanctions. According to data released by Global Forest Watch (GFW) last week, North Korea destroyed about four times as many trees in 2019 as during the year before, with an increase from 7.7 Kha to 27.5 Kha -- the size of roughly 34,000 soccer fields.