Tropical deforestation is one of the most pressing threats to biodiversity and substantially reduces ecosystem services on a global scale. Little is known however about the global spatial distribution of the actors behind tropical deforestation. Newly available maps of global cropland field size offer an opportunity to gain an understanding of the spatial dis- tribution of tropical deforestation actors. Here we use a map of global cropland field size and combine it with maps of forest loss to study the spatial association between field size and deforestation while accounting for other anthropogenic and geographical drivers of deforestation. We then use linear mixed-effects models and bootstrapping to determine what factors affect field sizes within deforested areas across all countries in the global tropics and subtropics. We find that field size within deforested areas is largely determined by country-level effects indicating the importance of socio-economic, cultural, and institutional factors on the distribution of field sizes. Typically, small field sizes appear more commonly in deforested areas in Africa and Asia while the association was with larger field sizes in Australia and the Americas. In general, we find that smaller field sizes are associated with deforestation in protected areas and large field sizes with areas with lower agricultural value, although these results have low explanatory power. Our results suggest that the spatial patterns of actors behind deforestation are aggregated geographically which could help target conservation and sustainable land-use strategies.