The online Global Forest Watch (GFW) platform has become essential to how the international community understands and interacts with geospatial forest information. While most policy frameworks and private sector commitments refer to monitoring “forests” or “natural forests,” GFW monitors global “tree cover” and “tree cover change.” “Tree cover” as identified by Hansen et al. (2013) and Potapov et al. (2022) on the GFW platform includes natural and planted forests, as well as other tree crops that are not typically considered forest. The Spatial Database of Planted Trees (SDPT) aims to spatially differentiate planted forests and tree crops from natural and seminatural forests on a global scale. For the purposes of this technical note, we define “planted trees” as encompassing “planted forests,” which are defined as stands of planted trees—other than tree crops—grown for wood and wood fiber production or for ecosystem protection against wind and/or soil erosion, and “tree crops,” defined as stands of perennial trees for agricultural purposes. The objective of this technical note is to update the previously published SDPT in three areas: boundaries, to spatially differentiate planted trees on a global scale; tree species information, to help screen for the illegal exportation of timber products; and carbon sequestration rates, or removal factors, to improve maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide sequestration by planted trees.

Key Findings:

  • Based on data compiled in SDPT version 2.0 (v2.0), in 2020 there were approximately 264 million hectares of planted forests worldwide, or 6.5 percent of total tree cover. An additional 65 million hectares were mapped as tree crops.
  • SDPT v2.0 planted forest area represents 90 percent of the world’s total planted forest area in 2020, as reported by FAO (2020).
  • Newly calculated removal factors for planted forests ranged from 0.43 to 15 metric tonnes aboveground carbon per hectare per year (t C/ha/yr), while for tree crops they ranged from 0.43 to 11 t C/ha/yr.


Preview image by Axel Fassio/CIFOR