Other types of farming can be much worse for forest regrowth. Intensive agricultural systems use lots of chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. The pesticides kill a lot of the living organisms in the area, and pesticides and fertilizers wash into the surrounding areas.
cutting down only 3% of the trees, a logging operation damaged 49% of all the trees in the forest
Clearcutting is much more damaging to a tropical rain forest. When the land is commercially clearcut and all of the trees removed, the bare ground is left behind with very little that can grow on it.
When a rain forest is commercially logged, the results are different. Under selective logging, only a few trees are cut down for timber. However, the use of heavy machinery--like bulldozers--in the cutting and hauling of logs tears up the ground and knocks down or damages many other trees
the forest grows back very quickly, because much of it was left unharmed in the first place. After this type of farming, forests can grow back as quickly as 20 years.
"shade agriculture." In this type of farming, many of the original rain forest trees are left to provide shade for shade-loving crops like coffee or chocolate.
the forest will grow back slowly, also because of the soil's poor nutrients. After the land is abandoned, the forest typically can take 50 years to grow back.
When the fertility of the ground becomes low, farmers seek other areas to clear and plant, abandoning the poor soil.
When the plants and trees are cut down to plant crops, small farmers usually burn the tree trunks to release into the ground (or "soil") the nutrients necessary for growing plants. This process is referred to as "slash and burn" agriculture. When rain falls, it washes away most of the nutrients and leaves the soil much poorer in nutrients. After a few years, the ground can no longer support crops, and the farmer has much poorer crops.
Thirty percent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere over the past 150 years is thought to come from deforestation
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and use it to grow, but when they decay or burn, carbon dioxide is released again. Decaying plants also produce methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.
genetic diversity in the planetary gene pool is crucial for the resilience of all life on Earth to rare but catastrophic environmental events, such as meteor impacts or massive, sustained volcanism.
the plants and animals in the fragments of forest that remain also become increasingly vulnerable, sometimes even committed, to extinction.
Although tropical forests cover only about 7 percent of the Earth’s dry land, they probably harbor about half of all species on Earth. Many species are so specialized to microhabitats within the forest that they can only be found in small areas. Their specialization makes them vulnerable to extinction.
Although deforestation meets some human needs, it also has profound, sometimes devastating, consequences, including social conflict, extinction of plants and animals, and climate change—challenges that aren’t just local, but global.
A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that during the decade from 1980 to 1990, the world's tropical forests were reduced by an average of 15.4 million hectares per year (0.8 percent annual rate of deforestation). The area of land cleared during the decade is equivalent to nearly three times the size of France.
Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.
According to Porter and Brown, conversion of forests for subsistence and commercial agriculture may account for as much as 60 percent of world-wide deforestation.1 An estimated 20 to 25 percent of annual deforestation is thought to be due to commercial logging. The remaining 15 to 20 percent is attributed to other activities such as cattle ranching, cash crop plantations, and the construction of dams, roads, and mines.
global markets consume rainforest products that depend on sustainable harvesting: latex, cork, fruit, nuts, timber, fibers, spices, natural oils and resins, and medicines.
Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl.
Forests are cut down for many reasons, but most of them are related to money or to people’s need to provide for their families.The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock.