Deforestation: Cause for concern?

Deforestation is…

The definition of deforestation is the removal or damage to vegetation in a forest to an extreme extent. Deforestation is a slow-onset disaster that may contribute to other fatal disasters; it will reach catastrophic proportions after large areas of forest are damaged or removed.

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Slash and burn farming…

A lot of the blame for tropical forest destruction can be shifted to slash and burn farmers. Slash and burn farming is where a clearing in the forest is made by cutting down trees and burning the stumps. Then the farmers grow crops for a few years until the soil fertility dissipates, then they will move onto a new patch of land.

Africa…

In Africa 5.5 million acres of open woodlands are cleared each year, and the vegetation of other woodland areas in the country are also declining. The forest in many areas in west Africa like Madagascar are disappearing fast, yet the rain forests in parts of central Africa have hardly been touched. The Ivory Coast has lost nearly 70% of the forest in which it started with in the 20th century. In the 1970’s nearly 10% of forest was cleared each year

Asia…

Asia once used to be a major, dominating timber exporter, yet in 1977 it was predicted that within just 12 short years’ Malaysia’s forests would be severely depleted, the prediction also stated that by 1990 the timber production wouldn’t even be able to satisfy the domestic demand. To stop these predictions coming true, new, strict logging laws were imposed, after these new laws the timber production rate fell, and re-forestation began to increase.

Geographical distribution…

A world survey was conducted in the early 1970’s, and the results shown that 1/5 of the earths land is covered by closed forests and roughly another 12% of land is covered by open woodlands. North and South America, central Africa and Southeast Asia are rich in tropical forest whereas Asia, most of Africa and Central America have hardly any forest left.

Deforestation rates in;

Latin America: 10.4 mill acres a year

Asia: 4.4 mill acres a year

Africa: 3.2 mill acres a year

Causes…

Farming…

The spread of farming in one form or another is the major cause of outright forest loss, even though the extent of it is often exaggerated. As the population has been increasing so has the need for agricultural land therefore causing more loss towards the forests.

Grazing…

In central and south America large areas of tropical forest have been cleared to create grazing lands for their animals, these clearings bring with them large tax bills therefore any land cleared would be uneconomical and short lived.

Logging…

Much deforestation has been done by multi-international corporations, and it always causes much more damage than intended, an Indonesian study revealed that 40% of the trees that were meant to be left behind ended up being destroyed. Logging causes permanent loss of forests as when many people are done with them they just leave them for grazing fields instead of re-foresting them.

Impact on buildings, communities and the economy…

Deforestation has a particularly harmful impact on housing in poorer countries, and if the government were to make a serious impact to meet the housing problems, adequate housing supplies and wood, would not be available.

With the lack of tropical rainforests around there obviously has been a lack of wood, causing firewood prices to soar, in the last few decades theses prices have multiplied over and over.

Recovery…

Re-forestation…

In china and South Korea they have seriously increased their forested areas in recent times. All that is required for this to work is that people replant trees back into land that isn’t being used or needed.

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