Why Does Deforestation Happen?

Every day about 350 km² of forest is cleared to satisfy human demand. Over the period of a year this amounts to an area roughly the size of Greece. Even though trees are being re-planted at approximately 150 km² a day there is still a huge deficit to be concerned about.

Forests are in fact a huge carbon storehouse. Trees effectively breath in Carbon Dioxide to produce the carbohydrates, fats and proteins that give them life. When forests are cut down and the trees are either burnt or left to rot they release all their stored up carbon into the atmosphere. It has been estimated that one third of all CO2 released by human activity is due to de-forestation.

The Sad Face of Deforestation

What can be done?

A lot of people would tell you absolutely nothing and blame rising populations as the major contributor to rain forest destruction.

However, I would beg to differ.

One statement from An Emergency Call to Action for the Forests and Their Peoples says, "Deforestation is the inevitable result of the current social and economic policies being carried out in the name of development". Reading between the lines it seems that the biggest cause of rain forest destruction is the corporate drive for profit coupled with the inequities of international trade! However, the profits and inequities are only a result of the rest of us buying into the story.

You can hardly blame developing countries clearing land for agriculture, logging and other types of development if they are indebted to richer nations. Neither can you blame the people to want to farm the land once it has been cleared.

Really, it is up to us in the wealthier nations to bring about change by raising awareness of why deforestation happens and by lessening our demands on the poorer nations and helping them restore the resources they once had. Please take some time to look at what the Arbor Day Foundation does to help save our planet.

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