27.06.2012 0

Rainforest deforestation – the facts

Rainforest deforestation has been described as a modern day plague and it’s a hugely serious threat to the world’s ‘green lung’. Deforestation is leading to the earth’s forests becoming entirely cleared away and destroyed on a huge scale, ultimately leaving the land in an unusable state. Forests still cover around a third of the world’s landmass, but entire areas comparable to the size of Panama are destroyed every year.

In fact, experts believe that the world’s forests could be completely gone within a single century if deforestation is allowed to continue at its current pace.

Forests are destroyed for many commercial reasons and agriculture is the biggest cause. Farmers cut down trees in the rainforest to provide space for livestock or crops. Sometimes this involves cutting and burning trees. Logging operations are a huge scale damaging problem and many loggers operate illegally to cut down ancient trees for paper and wood products, building access roads into the most ancient parts of the world’s rainforests to take the wood.

So what is the danger of deforestation? Well, it means a loss in habitat for both local species and indigenous people. It also drives negative climate change, destroying the natural canopy of trees, spoiling the soil and removing the natural absorption agents of trees that remove our carbon dioxide and absorb greenhouse gases. Fewer trees means more green house gases in the environment.

So what’s the solution? The obvious response is simply to stop people from cutting down trees and clearing landspace for agriculture and urban sprawl. But better forest regulation and management is the clearer longer term solution and requires the world’s governments to work together and prioritise the protection of these vital natural assets for future generations, rather than destroying them now in the pursuit of short-term economic gain.

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