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The Effect Agriculture has on Deforestation

written by: Raunekk•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 6/14/2010

The terms agriculture and deforestation are interwoven. If any disturbance occurs in one, its effects are seen on the other. The article is an attempt to describe how the agriculture effect on deforestation happens and what future concerns need to be attended to immediately.

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    Introduction

    Forests have been an important element of the ecosystem, offering people with various resources to sustain their lives. They not only provide us with wood to fulfill the needs of cooking, building houses and furniture, but also have made available a range of products such as bark, dyes, fibers, gums, incense, oils, resins, and waxes. However, with the recent reports on deforestation released, it is likely that man would have to learn to live without them. One of the main reasons is that the results of the agriculture effect on deforestation are so profound.

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    How Agriculture Affects Forests

    Basically, deforestation means the transformation of forest land area into another one for a long duration or even permanently. Posing a threat for human survival on Earth, deforestation has become a grave issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

    Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East are few places where deforestation was recorded on a larger scale. Moreover, what raises an alarm is the rate of depletion of forest areas especially in places like Latin America, Africa and Asia which report an accelerating rate of 2%, 0.8% and 2% respectively every year.

    Agriculture, population issues, timber harvesting, social and political divisions, mining, and the necessity of roads are some of the reasons why forest areas are cut down. These activities have been carried out for a long time and their repercussions are being felt now. With an aim to set up an agricultural industry, authorities make use of slash-and-burn techniques to remove the land area. While doing so, they often burn hundreds to thousands of hectares while clearing an area of 2 to 10 acres. Mainly, these practices cause a major destruction of the trees having timber value.

    Forests comprise slightly more than one quarter of the total land area of the world. In fact, Canada, China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, the United States, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the seven nations that form more than 60% of the total forest area on Earth. With major portions of greenery being wiped out, adverse impact has been witnessed on climate. Various species of animals and birds have also become extinct.

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    What Needs to be Done?

    In this case, the governments of all the nations need to devise plans and projects that involve setting up of factories and industries with less destruction of the forests. On a wider note, they need to intervene in the matters where the wealthy and politically supported groups of people seize land from farmers to reap the benefits of the timber-based forest areas.

    Some countries like Brazil have set up targets towards this project by aiming to reduce 70% of deforestation in the upcoming ten years. Government could also control the logging industry; implement forest protection schemes, and analyze those deforestation activities that lead to the problems. A common national treaty on forestry for prohibiting cutting down of “endangered" trees and programmes to set up national parks or forest reserves could promote afforestation.

    Further, environment organizations need to spread mass awareness before the situation becomes worse in the next forty years. Small steps like educating people about afforestation or simply planting a garden and using recycled material can go a long way in conserving forests. Global warming has also been quite an important subject of debate across the globe. But deforestation is something that has been cornered and needs to be attended too.