How deforestation is harming the environment
Updated: May 1, 2018
National Geographic | Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths half the size of England are lost each year.
The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often, small farmers will clear a few acres by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burn agriculture.
Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gasesentering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming.
The most feasible solution to deforestation is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by planting young trees to replace older trees felled. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Take action right away. Research ways you can reduce the carbon footprint and make an action plan to follow through or raise awareness in your community.
Here are a few ways you can take action / learn right now!