Deforestation: causes, impacts and solutions

‘In 2015, an estimated 50 percent of the planet’s wild forests had gone. And the destruction of forests has continued since. If the trend is not stopped, we will only have 10 percent of the world’s original forests left by 2030’ ­www.theworldcounts.com

A private corporation or government may want to deforest an area for agriculture, grazing or urban development. It is mostly a concern with countries in tropical regions like Brazil or Indonesia where rainforests rich in biodiversity are being lost at a rapid rate. Before looking at the causes of deforestation, it is important to distinguish between the agents and the causes:


‘The agents of deforestation are those slash and burn farmers, commercial farmers, ranchers, loggers, firewood collectors, infra-structure developers and others who are cutting down the forests. Causes of deforestation are the forces that motivate the agents to clear the forests’Deforestation: Causes, Effects and Control Strategies

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To go in to detail about each cause would make this post several pages long, therefore I will provide a list of direct causes which can be looked at by following the link provided.


Some of the direct causes of deforestation (as referenced on page 7 in the article) are:

  • Expansion of farm land
  • Timber plantations
  • Logging
  • Overgrazing
  • Fires
  • Mining
  • Urbanisation
  • Air pollution
  • War
  • Tourism

In relation to the direct causes, this demonstrates that deforestation can be caused for various reasons in many different ways. However, the impacts this can have on local communities and internationally is mostly concerning.

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The impact of deforestation increases global warming which has a collateral impact on the Earth and all its inhabitants.


‘Forests have a big influence on rainfall patterns, water and soil quality and flood prevention too. Millions of people rely directly on forests as their home or for making a living. But the risks from deforestation go even wider. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide. If forests are cleared, or even disturbed, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Forest loss and damage is the cause of around 10% of global warming’WWF

Not to mention the vast amount of habitat and species loss to many plant and animals which are exclusive to certain rainforests and ecosystems which are then destroyed.


Therefore, when looking into solutions to deforestation there are many different approaches corporations or nations can adopt. Greenpeace offer an array of different solutions such as:

⦁ Corporations operating with ‘zero deforestation’ policies

⦁ Supporting Indigenous communities

⦁ Promoting sustainable lifestyle

⦁ Changing the politics

In summary, we must remember that when thinking about ways to solve deforestation it will often entail a multilateral solution. As it has already been established that:


‘Rarely is there a single direct cause for deforestation. Most often, multiple processes work simultaneously or sequentially to cause deforestation’www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov


Therefore, it is evident that there needs to be more cooperation with nations like Indonesia or Brazil, as they have some of the largest rainforests, to prevent the increase rate of illegal deforestation and rapid decline in forest and species loss.

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News: Deforestation of the Amazon at a record high

It has recently been reported by Brazil’s space agency (INPE) that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has reached a new high. Deforestation of the Amazon, which is mostly illegal, takes place in order to make space for meat production or production of soya and other crops. With the decline of biodiversity in one of the largest rainforests on the planet, this presents a serious threat to the planet’s sustainability and its potential to store carbon emissions.

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Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has not helped the situation by promoting development within the rainforest and cut funding to federal agencies which issue fines to those breaking environmental law.

In 2019, the Amazon rainforest was also subject to mass burning for the likes of those wanting to profit from the land which was left behind. As one of the planet’s largest reserves of biodiversity, indigenous communities and carbon storage it is inevitable that climate change will worsen with more deforestation occurring.

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