What Does Deforestation Mean? Every Detail On Rainforest Loss! | Kidadl


What Does Deforestation Mean? Every Detail On Rainforest Loss!

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The word 'deforestation' is a geographical term, that refers to the deliberate clearance or cutting down of trees from tropical rainforests or tropical forests.

Tropical deforestation is not a modern phenomenon and we can trace it back to ancient times. Clearing large parts of the forested areas in order to create more agricultural land, get land for cattle grazing, for obtaining woods to make wood products, and get fuel, can be seen throughout human history.

Global deforestation has greatly contributed to the alteration of the landscape, land type, and soil type in the entire world. Deforestation is an issue worldwide and is not limited to a single continent or country. For instance, 80% of the western side of the European continent was covered by dense forests about 2,000 years ago. Now, with the help of deforestation, only 34% of the land is under forest cover, and the rest are deforested areas.

Similarly, in Northern America, half of their forest loss took place between the 17th century and late 19th century, because of agricultural use by small farmers, as well as people's urge to collect firewood for their household.

Deforestation has increased carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere. As we already know, carbon dioxide is used by green trees for photosynthesis, so that they can make their food and produce oxygen as a by-product. Now, deforestation has cut down this process as the extra carbon dioxide cannot be used by plants. Therefore, oxygen emission is also reducing rapidly.

The increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere due to deforestation is directly causing global warming. Hence, we should protect the rest of our forest cover and forest areas, and ought to increase the pace of afforestation.

When did deforestation become an issue?

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the annual rate for deforestation is 500 thousand sq mi (1.3 million sq km).

The removal of trees was not an issue initially, but clearance of large tropical forests to obtain cleared land has become a threatening issue for the entire living world. Today, deforestation occurs mostly in tropical forests. Deforested regions are now being used to make new roads, find fossil fuels, and accommodate the growing human population.

As we already know, deforestation has prevailed in human society throughout its entire history. However, in the '50s, the phenomenon rose as a serious issue. It is still an increasingly vital problem because of the rapid growth of the population and the subsequent demand for resources.

One of the most active contributors to this deforestation issue is shifting agriculture. This is a type of cultivation in which a patch of forested land is burned down by farmers, so they can grow their crops on that patch of land.

After using it for years, they abandon that place, and the search for new land continues. This shifting agriculture is common in Southeast Asia, in some parts of Africa, and it is common among Americans as well, for permanent palm oil plantations.

Palm oil deforestation is not only common in America, but also in some Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Large forested lands or areas have been destroyed in these countries for making adequate dolce for plantations of palm oil.

As cattle ranches, palm oil, rubber trees, and other commercial trees have high economic value and will fetch the nation a good sum of money, countries themselves decide to clear large rainforest regions, resulting in deforestation.

Side Effects Of Deforestation

Deforestation comes along with tons of side effects that affect the ecosystem.

One of the most harmful side effects is greenhouse gas emissions. Due to the lack of, or scarcity of trees, greenhouse gases get into the atmosphere and raise the temperature by capturing heat from the sun.

One of the worst greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (CO2). As there are fewer trees, carbon emissions cannot be reduced through photosynthesis. Greenhouse gas emissions are one of the main reasons behind global warming and climate change. If rainforests and other forests continue to be chopped down in this manner, then it will become increasingly difficult to survive on this planet.

One of the other dangerous side effects of deforestation is soil erosion. Most deforestation occurs when trees are cut down for non-forest use, such as household and commercial purposes. The roots of forest trees help the earth hold the topsoil and water together. This topsoil is rich in nutrients. When these trees are cut down, the topsoil becomes loose and can be easily blown by the wind or washed by rainwater. This is known as soil erosion, where the soil ends up losing its nutrient value and fertility. Flooding is also becoming a concerning phenomenon because of the risk of deforestation.

Deforestation also affects atmospheric water. Trees play an important role in the regulation of the water cycle and control atmospheric water. However, having fewer trees in the forests is making this process more difficult. Trees in a forest make it easier to control atmospheric water, but in deforested regions, the soil gets dryer because there is less water in the atmosphere, which can be transferred back to the soil through transpiration, and this makes the soil incapable of sprouting crops.

World life, animal and plant species, are losing their natural habitat for the clearance of forests. Almost 70% of animals and plants live in forests and deforestation is endangering the lives of these animals and plants. We might knowingly or unknowingly threaten the lives of many known and unknown animal species. Animals like pandas, chimpanzees, monarch butterflies, mountain gorillas, and pygmy sloths are directly affected by global deforestation. They are almost on the verge of extinction, but are fortunately being well protected so that they do not disappear from our planet entirely.

People are using the cleared areas as monotypic plantations, which is another reason for the destruction of biodiversity and the natural balance of every ecosystem. This becomes damaged due to the introduction of foreign plants, or by the total removal of competing species.

Deforestation is not only hampering the lives of wild animals and plants, but is also a threat to the indigenous populations that live in dense forests. Their lifestyles have been largely affected due to the rapid growth of industrialization. Governments of most countries allow these industries to clear large forest areas, so that they can build factories and there can be an economic boost in the nation. Also, in many countries, governments evict indigenous people before clearing the forests. However, this deforestation is robbing homes and surroundings from people endemic to those regions, upsetting the ecological balance.

Deforestation is clearing forest cover, which is harmful to nature and its inhabitants.

Countries Where Deforestation Is Happening

Deforestation is a common problem faced by almost all countries around the world. From developed countries to underdeveloped countries, this is either a major or a severe problem. However, some of the countries that are witnessing an unprecedented severity of devastation, are Nigeria, the Philippines, and Nepal.

Nigeria was almost half covered by dense forests, but now less than 1% of the remaining forest is frontier forests. Almost 90% of the forests have been destroyed and the reason behind this huge rate of deforestation is mostly logging and fuelwood collection. Something similar is the story of another west African country, Kenya, where severe deforestation has led to only around 1.3% of the land being covered with vegetation.

In North America, there has been a significant decrease in the forest regions due to various reasons. For instance, in the United States before 1600, almost 50% of the land was covered with forest. However, in the next three years, there was a decline in woodlands due to the expansion of agricultural production in order to meet the needs of the expanding population.

Since 1960 there has been a steady trend of deforestation, which is continuously resulting in the depletion of forest cover all over the country. A similar situation is seen in the central Americas as well. Before the arrival of Europeans, the region was covered with thick vegetation and almost 90% of the land was covered with forests. Due to the expansion of agriculture and animal husbandry in the American food industry, about half of it was removed.

In the last two decades, there has been a 25% decline in forests in Nepal, where only 22% of the original forest cover remains. Sri Lanka is another country that has maintained a very high rate of deforestation in the last few decades. The present-day statics show only 26% of the forest cover remains. However, it is fortunate that the government has been playing an active part in preserving the forest and stopping deforestation in the country.

We need to raise awareness among the large masses and the governments of all countries so that a string of steps can be taken, to eradicate or at least limit deforestation as early as possible, before it is impossible for every living being to continue living on our planet. All around the world, people are coming together to raise their voices against the malpractice of deforestation.

Interesting Facts About Deforestation

Almost 30% of the Earth's surface is covered by forests.

It is estimated that in 100 years, there will be no rainforest on our Earth.

According to surveys, 1.5 ac (6070.2 sq m) of forested regions are cut down every second.

One of the main causes of deforestation is agriculture.

In the Amazon rainforest, 25% of all cancer-fighting organisms are found.


Q. What is an example of deforestation?

A. An example of deforestation is the Amazon Rainforest in South America. About 20% of the forest has been removed over the last 40 years.

Q. What is deforestation, as a short answer?

In short, deforestation can be simply explained as an action where a large area of forest is cleared and trees are removed.

Q. What is deforestation and its causes?

A. The removal of trees from an area is deforestation, it can be natural (hurricanes, fires, floods) and man-made causes (area for cattle, timber source, construction).

Q. Why is deforestation happening?

A. The most common causes of deforestation are agriculture, and the management of forests, fire, and mining.

Q. How does deforestation affect the environment?

A. The main effect of deforestation is that there is an increase in carbon dioxide and more greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment.

Q. Which countries are most impacted by deforestation?

A. The main countries impacted by deforestation are Nigeria, Ghana, Indonesia, Nepal, North Korea, and the Philippines.

Q. What animals are affected by deforestation?

A. Orangutans, Sumatran rhinos, chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and giant pandas are just some of the animals that are affected by deforestation.

Q. What are people doing to stop deforestation?

A. The best way to stop deforestation is to use more sustainable materials. 

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?