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Causes and Consequences of Deforestation : The Negative Effects are Mounting and Continuing to Grow

written by: Jenny Griffin•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 7/3/2008

The consequences of deforestation are numerous and have many negative effects. The causes of deforestation are mainly human, therefore it is important to take positive action to protect and conserve what is left in the rain forests for future generations.

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    The actions of deforestation have devastating consequences on the land, environment and humanity as a whole. The removal of forest area is having a very significant impact on our environment and global warming, and the longer the problem continues, the worse the effects will become. Other factors are also significantly impacted by deforestation including lack of habitat for wildlife and economic implications that have came about due to the lack of forest areas and resources available.

    In addition to the environmental factors of deforestation, there are also some serious economic consequences that we are feeling globally. A lot of areas of the world rely on the resources of the rain forests for timber and wood for fuel. Some countries heavily utilize the woods of building houses, heating and cooking and even pulp for paper. By converting rich forest areas into agriculture, or by the overuse of products made by wood, this can create a significant long-term loss in terms of income and productivity. Illegal uses and methods of logging in the forest regions have also contributed to billions of dollars of damages to economies globally.

    When it comes to defining deforestation today, the term ‘slash and burn’ is used often to describe the rapid destruction of forest area by ridding the forests of its rich soil and trees. Instead of being able to productively use the land after the removal of the trees, some companies are finding that through their attempts to rid the unwanted trees from the forest, they are left with inadequate soil for agriculture. This is because the nutrients found in the rich forest soil were destroyed during the burning process. This can render acres upon acres of land destroyed and ruined without any gain.

    The biggest causes of deforestation today are mainly by humans, including livestock grazing, mining, digging for oil, agricultural uses and the expansion of urban areas. The growing demands for wood products for building, paper making and furniture are continuing to be a big factor in the deforestation process. Additionally, the clearing of forest areas to allow for commercial or industrial building, have also impacted the problems of deforestation. Local populations are expanding and are spreading out into what once was beautiful, rich forest.

    Environmental impacts are probably the most wide felt problems associated with deforestation. The negative implications that are created by deforestation are causing an increase in global warming and greenhouse effect. Another consequence is the removal of protection of many types of wildlife that find habitation in rain forests. Not only are these major concerns for the environment, but the effects are just beginning to unfold, and the longer that deforestation continues to go on, the more and more impacts we will find it has on the environment.