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The problem regarding deforestation effects countries around the world.

Deforestation is the removal of a forest and/or trees in which the empty land is converted for non-forest uses. The issue of deforestation is a serious problem here in the U.S and across the world. As of now, forests cover 30% of the Earth’s land and experts estimate that within 100 years there will be no rain forests left if we continue to remove forests and trees at the same rate.

The Importance of Trees:

Some may underestimate the importance of trees and even take them for granted.Trees create an ecosystem to provide a habitat and food for birds and other animals. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide from the air. In turn, they release oxygen. This oxygen is essential to human, animal, and other plant life. They are also considered natural filters or the lungs of the Earth because they absorb pollutants through their leaves. This idea of sequestering pollutants and filtering contaminants in the air helps “clean” the air we all breathe.

Causes of Deforestation:

  • Farmland and Ranches
    • The ever growing demand for farmland and ranches is the primary cause of deforestation.
    • The demand for space to grow a variety of crops and house livestock causes companies to clear the land. With ample amount of space, they are able to mass-produce crop and animal products.
  • Housing/Factories
    • Since the population is growing on an exponential scale, the number of houses needed to                accommodate the large amount of people has increased with the population. Due to this increased need for space and overpopulation, forests are diminishing.
  • Building Products/Logging
    • Excessive quantities of wood is needed to construct houses and buildings.
  • Natural Disasters
    • Unfortunately, forest fires are natural causes to the depletion of forests.

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The dry, arid climate in California is contributing to the increased number of forest fires in the state.


Since industrialized countries consume 12 times more wood and its products per person than the non-industrialized countries, they are mostly to blame for this severe issue. Among these industrialized countries, Russia, the United States, and Japan consume about half of the world’s timber.

Negative Effects of Deforestation:

At this rate, if deforestation is not slowed down or adequate solutions have been reached, the Earth will suffer immensely. Some of these negative effects include:

  • Loss of biodiversity in the area
  • Water cycle and Carbon cycle disturbances
  • Loss of habitat for the animals/ indigenous people
  • Soil erosion
    • The diagram below demonstrates the issues associated with deforestation and soil erosion.

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  • Global warming
    • Carbon dioxide emissions are no longer absorbed by trees

Environmental Crisis: The Amazon Rainforest

It is estimated that if deforestation rates do not slow, the remainder of the Earth’s rain forests will be diminished in approximately 100 years. One area that is currently suffering the consequences of deforestation is the Amazon Rainforest that covers primarily Brazil, Columbia, and Peru. The Amazon is known to be the Earth’s largest rain forest. It was once known to host a teeming ecosystem with exotic animals and plants. More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests and one-fifth of the world’s fresh water is in the Amazon Basin. Also, 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon. In addition, the sheer size of forest itself allows for large amounts of carbon dioxide absorption. Not only is the destruction of this natural beauty effecting the natural ecosystem and wildlife that inhabit the area, the indigenous people are facing the issue of relocating.

Skyrocketing in the 1990’s, deforestation of the Amazon rainforest accelerated significantly between 1991 and 2004. By 1995, 70% of formerly forested land in the Amazon had been converted for cattle ranching. Now, organization are working to help reverse these effects and stop companies from taking advantage of the natural space.

Things You Can Do to Help Fight Deforestation:

  • Plant trees
    • By planting even one tree on your property will not only help reverse the effects of deforestation, but also provide some shade to the area around it.
  • Switch to paperless
    • Companies today provide the feature to unsubscribe and switch to paperless. A few things that you can change in your daily routine includes switching over from paper newspapers or printed magazines to online versions on their websites. Some even opt to read books through an E-reader or Kindle. It is also common to do bills and bank online. By doing this, companies save both ink and paper. Even simple things such as taking notes on a computer as opposed to a notebook will help save paper.
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle paper products

World Wildlife Fund For Nature:

Founded in Switzerland, the WWF focuses on tackling some of the largest wildlife and nature crises facing the world today. Among them, deforestation has been a primary focus since the 1980’s.

The President and CEO of WWF discusses in  the video above the importance of saving the Amazon and its indigenous species. A black Jaguar is one of the many species that lives in the Amazon and is at risk of endangerment.

There are so many environmental issues mankind is delegated to tackle. If not assessed in a timely fashion, the Earth will undergo a variety of negative processes and its inhabitants will struggle severely. Some effects are not even known to scientists. Deforestation is a problem the entire world must come together to fight. On the other hand, if you’re interested in more ways to get involved on a more personal level, visit the World Wildlife website linked here.

3 thoughts on “Deforestation

  1. Deforestation is a huge issue, and I think that people are finally starting to realize this. Every year in elementary school, all of the kids would receive trees on Earth Day in order to try to plant more trees in our area and stress the importance that trees have on our environment. In addition, many teachers today have switched to completely paperless assignments in order to save paper. I also love the recycling program Penn State has. My mom has always stressed the importance of recycling to me, so I am glad that I am able to continue to recycle here at school.

  2. Near my house there have been numerous new projects taken on to build houses and businesses. Although I think it is necessary to provide shelter for humans, I have watched so many pieces of nature and trees get taken down as a result. It is very sad to think that future generations may never get to know what a rainforest is because they will all be gone because of us. I would love to be able to help this problem and maybe plant a tree. I will have to find a place to do that when I go home.

  3. It is completely insane to think that in 100 years, most of the remaining rain forests will be completely depleted of trees. That is when my kids will only be in their late 70’s! The amount of trees that humans will get rid of is ridiculous and I think it is very important that we fix our actions and take control of everything that we cause to go wrong. Even in my own city of Lancaster (where the city is mostly made up of farmlands) I have seen vast lands of trees and plants be destroyed for building offices and houses and it is very sad to watch all of the land be used for industrial use.

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