What is deforestation?
Deforestation is when humans remove or clear large areas of forest lands and related ecosystems for non-forest use. These include clearing for farming purposes, ranching, and urban use. In these cases, trees are never re-planted.
About 2,000 trees per minute are cut in the rainforests. Also shockingly, 36 million acres of natural forest are lost each year.
Since the industrial age, about half of the world’s original forests have been destroyed, and millions of animals and living things have been endangered. Despite the improvements in education, information, and general awareness of the importance of forests, deforestation has not reduced much, and there are still many more communities and individuals who destroy forest lands for personal gains.
Why do humans clear forest lands?
- Trees are cut down (deforestation) for many reasons including:
To be used, sold, or exported as timber, wood, or fuel (charcoal). This is called logging.
- To be used for farming purposes (grazing fields for livestock, or large-scale farming activities)
- To make room for human settlement and urbanization (these include making space for shelter, industries, and roads)
- To make room for mining.
For all the reasons above, the trees cut are usually very well developed trees that have taken many years to mature. When they are cut they break down younger trees as they fall to the ground, leaving that area heavily degraded.