While forests are still being lost in some countries, the volume of forest trees is increasing in many others, according to a new study.

Conservationists have long raised alarms about deforestation in such countries as Brazil and Indonesia, where cutting continues.

But new research which looks at not just forest area, but also the density of trees, found increases over the last 15 years in forests in 22 countries that have large forested areas.

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The research, led by Pekka E. Kauppi of the University of Helsinki in Finland, is reported in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers studied the 50 nations with large forest areas.

From 1990 to 2005, total forest stock fell fastest in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines and increased fastest in Ukraine and Spain.

Countries with increases in forest stock, according to the report, were: Austria, Belarus, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States and Vietnam.

The research was funded by the Academy of Finland and the National Science Foundation of China.