Deforestation

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Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.<ref>SAFnet Dictionary|Definition For [deforestation]. Dictionary of forestry.org (2008-07-29). Retrieved on 2011-05-15.</ref> Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use.

About half of the world's original forests had been destroyed by 2011, the majority during the previous 50 years.Template:Citation needed Since 1990 half of the world's rain forests have been destroyed.Template:Citation needed More than half of the animal and plant species in the world live in tropical forests.<ref name="Rainforest Facts">Rainforest Facts.</ref>

The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area are removed.Template:Failed verificationTemplate:POV-statement However in temperate climates, the removal of all trees in an areaTemplate:Failed verification—in conformance with sustainable forestry practices—is correctly described as regeneration harvest.<ref>SAFe.net Dictionary|Definition For [regeneration_cut(ting)]. Dictionary of forestry.org (2008-08-14). Retrieved on 2011-05-15.</ref> In temperate mesic climates, natural regeneration of forest stands often will not occur in the absence of disturbance, whether natural or anthropogenic.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Furthermore, biodiversity after regeneration harvest often mimics that found after natural disturbance, including biodiversity loss after naturally occurring rainforest destruction.<ref name="SahneyBentonFalconLang 2010RainforestCollapse">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>Patel-Weynand, Toral (2002) Biodiversity and sustainable forestry: State of the science review. The National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry, Washington DC</ref>

Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities, and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation has also been used in war to deprive an enemy of cover for its forces and also vital resources. A modern example of this was the use of Agent Orange by the United States military in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland.

Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. In many countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced, is an ongoing issue. Deforestation causes extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and displacement of populations as observed by current conditions and in the past through the fossil record.<ref name="SahneyBentonFalconLang 2010RainforestCollapse"/>

Among countries with a per capita GDP of at least US$4,600, net deforestation rates have ceased to increase.Template:When<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>"Use Energy, Get Rich and Save the Planet", The New York Times, April 20, 2009</ref>

Satellite photograph of deforestation in progress in the Tierras Bajas project in eastern Bolivia.

Contents

Causes

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel wood removals make up 5% of deforestation.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Experts do not agree on whether industrial logging is an important contributor to global deforestation.<ref name=causesof>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Some argue that poor people are more likely to clear forest because they have no alternatives, others that the poor lack the ability to pay for the materials and labour needed to clear forest.<ref name=causesof /> One study found that population increases due to high fertility rates were a primary driver of tropical deforestation in only 8% of cases.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Other causes of contemporary deforestation may include corruption of government institutions,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> the inequitable distribution of wealth and power,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> population growth<ref name=population1 /> and overpopulation,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and urbanization.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Globalization is often viewed as another root cause of deforestation,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> though there are cases in which the impacts of globalization (new flows of labor, capital, commodities, and ideas) have promoted localized forest recovery.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

The last batch of sawnwood from the peat forest in Indragiri Hulu, Sumatra, Indonesia. Deforestation for oil palm plantation.

In 2000 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that "the role of population dynamics in a local setting may vary from decisive to negligible," and that deforestation can result from "a combination of population pressure and stagnating economic, social and technological conditions."<ref name=population1>Template:Cite web</ref>

The degradation of forest ecosystems has also been traced to economic incentives that make forest conversion appear more profitable than forest conservation.<ref name=economicvalue>Template:Cite journal</ref> Many important forest functions have no markets, and hence, no economic value that is readily apparent to the forests' owners or the communities that rely on forests for their well-being.<ref name=economicvalue /> From the perspective of the developing world, the benefits of forest as carbon sinks or biodiversity reserves go primarily to richer developed nations and there is insufficient compensation for these services. Developing countries feel that some countries in the developed world, such as the United States of America, cut down their forests centuries ago and benefited greatly from this deforestation, and that it is hypocritical to deny developing countries the same opportunities: that the poor shouldn't have to bear the cost of preservation when the rich created the problem.<ref name=costarica>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Some commentators have noted a shift in the drivers of deforestation over the past 30 years.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Whereas deforestation was primarily driven by subsistence activities and government-sponsored development projects like transmigration in countries like Indonesia and colonization in Latin America, India, Java, and so on, during late 19th century and the earlier half of the 20th century. By the 1990s the majority of deforestation was caused by industrial factors, including extractive industries, large-scale cattle ranching, and extensive agriculture.<ref name=rud>Rudel, T.K. 2005 "Tropical Forests: Regional Paths of Destruction and Regeneration in the Late 20th Century" Columbia University Press ISBN 0-231-13195-X</ref>

Environmental problems

Atmospheric

Illegal slash and burn practice in Madagascar, 2010

Deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="newsfromafrica.org">Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Deforestation, ScienceDaily</ref><ref>Confirmed: Deforestation Plays Critical Climate Change Role, ScienceDaily, May 11, 2007</ref>

Deforestation is a contributor to global warming,<ref>Deforestation causes global warming, FAO</ref><ref name="Fearnidel">Philip M. Fearnside1 and William F. Laurance, TROPICAL DEFORESTATION AND GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS, Ecological Applications, Volume 14, Issue 4 (August 2004) pp. 982–986</ref> and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deforestation, mainly in tropical areas, could account for up to one-third of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.<ref name="IPCC deforestation">IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group I Report "The Physical Science Basis", Section 7.3.3.1.5 (p. 527)</ref> But recent calculations suggest that carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (excluding peatland emissions) contribute about 12% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions with a range from 6 to 17%.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Deforestation causes carbon dioxide to linger in the atmosphere. As carbon dioxide accrues, it produces a layer in the atmosphere that traps radiation from the sun. The radiation converts to heat which causes global warming, which is better known as the greenhouse effect.<ref>Mumoki, Fiona. “The Effects of Deforestation on our Environment Today.” Panorama. TakingITGlobal. 18 July 2006. Web. 24 March 2012.</ref> Other plants remove carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis and release oxygen back into the atmosphere during normal respiration. Only when actively growing can a tree or forest remove carbon over an annual or longer timeframe. Both the decay and burning of wood releases much of this stored carbon back to the atmosphere. In order for forests to take up carbon, the wood must be harvested and turned into long-lived products and trees must be re-planted.<ref>I.C. Prentice. "The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" IPCC</ref> Deforestation may cause carbon stores held in soil to be released. Forests are stores of carbon and can be either sinks or sources depending upon environmental circumstances. Mature forests alternate between being net sinks and net sources of carbon dioxide (see carbon dioxide sink and carbon cycle). In deforested areas, the land heats up faster and reaches a higher temperature, leading to localized upward motions that enhance the formation of clouds and ultimately produce more rainfall.<ref>NASA Data Shows Deforestation Affects Climate In The Amazon. NASA News. June 9, 2004</ref> However, according to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the models used to investigate remote responses to tropical deforestation showed a broad but mild temperature increase all through the tropical atmosphere. The model predicted <0.2°C warming for upper air at 700 mb and 500 mb. However, the model shows no significant changes in other areas besides the Tropics. Though the model showed no significant changes to the climate in areas other than the Tropics, this may not be the case since the model has possible errors and the results are never absolutely definite.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

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Fires on Borneo and Sumatra, 2006. People use slash-and-burn deforestation to clear land for agriculture.

Reducing emissions from the tropical deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries has emerged as new potential to complement ongoing climate policies. The idea consists in providing financial compensations for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation".<ref>S. Wertz-Kanounnikoff, L. Ximena Rubio Alvarado, Bringing 'REDD' into a new deal for the global climate, Analyses, n° 2, 2007, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.</ref>

Rainforests are widely believed by laymen to contribute a significant amount of world's oxygen,<ref name="timesonline.co.uk">Template:Cite news</ref> although it is now accepted by scientists that rainforests contribute little net oxygen to the atmosphere and deforestation has only a minor effect on atmospheric oxygen levels.<ref>Broeker, Wallace S. (2006). "Breathing easy: Et tu, O2." Columbia University</ref><ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> However, the incineration and burning of forest plants to clear land releases large amounts of CO2, which contributes to global warming.<ref name="Fearnidel" /> Scientists also state that, Tropical deforestation releases 1.5 billion tons of carbon each year into the atmosphere.<ref name="ReferenceC">Template:Cite journal</ref>

Forests are also able to extract carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, thus contributing to biosphere stability.Template:Citation needed

Hydrological

The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer transpire this water, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reduces the content of water in the soil and groundwater as well as atmospheric moisture. The dry soil leads to lower water intake for the trees to extract.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Deforestation reduces soil cohesion, so that erosion, flooding and landslides ensue.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>China's floods: Is deforestation to blame? BBC News. August 6, 1999</ref>

Shrinking forest cover lessens the landscape's capacity to intercept, retain and transpire precipitation. Instead of trapping precipitation, which then percolates to groundwater systems, deforested areas become sources of surface water runoff, which moves much faster than subsurface flows. That quicker transport of surface water can translate into flash flooding and more localized floods than would occur with the forest cover. Deforestation also contributes to decreased evapotranspiration, which lessens atmospheric moisture which in some cases affects precipitation levels downwind from the deforested area, as water is not recycled to downwind forests, but is lost in runoff and returns directly to the oceans. According to one study, in deforested north and northwest China, the average annual precipitation decreased by one third between the 1950s and the 1980s.Template:Citation needed

Trees, and plants in general, affect the water cycle significantly:

As a result, the presence or absence of trees can change the quantity of water on the surface, in the soil or groundwater, or in the atmosphere. This in turn changes erosion rates and the availability of water for either ecosystem functions or human services.

The forest may have little impact on flooding in the case of large rainfall events, which overwhelm the storage capacity of forest soil if the soils are at or close to saturation.

Tropical rainforests produce about 30% of our planet's fresh water.<ref name="timesonline.co.uk"/>

Soil

Deforestation for the use of clay in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The hill depicted is Morro da Covanca, in Jacarepaguá

Undisturbed forests have a very low rate of soil loss, approximately 2 metric tons per square kilometer (6 short tons per square mile).Template:Citation needed Deforestation generally increases rates of soil erosion, by increasing the amount of runoff and reducing the protection of the soil from tree litter. This can be an advantage in excessively leached tropical rain forest soils. Forestry operations themselves also increase erosion through the development of roads and the use of mechanized equipment.

China's Loess Plateau was cleared of forest millennia ago. Since then it has been eroding, creating dramatic incised valleys, and providing the sediment that gives the Yellow River its yellow color and that causes the flooding of the river in the lower reaches (hence the river's nickname 'China's sorrow').

Removal of trees does not always increase erosion rates. In certain regions of southwest US, shrubs and trees have been encroaching on grassland. The trees themselves enhance the loss of grass between tree canopies. The bare intercanopy areas become highly erodible. The US Forest Service, in Bandelier National Monument for example, is studying how to restore the former ecosystem, and reduce erosion, by removing the trees.

Tree roots bind soil together, and if the soil is sufficiently shallow they act to keep the soil in place by also binding with underlying bedrock. Tree removal on steep slopes with shallow soil thus increases the risk of landslides, which can threaten people living nearby.

Biodiversity

Deforestation on a human scale results in decline in biodiversity.<ref>Sten Nilsson, Do We Have Enough Forests?, American Institute of Biological Sciences, March 2001</ref> and on a natural global scale is known to cause the extinction of many species.<ref name="SahneyBentonFalconLang 2010RainforestCollapse">Template:Cite journal</ref> The removal or destruction of areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Forests support biodiversity, providing habitat for wildlife;<ref>Rainforest Biodiversity Shows Differing Patterns, ScienceDaily, August 14, 2007</ref> moreover, forests foster medicinal conservation.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> With forest biotopes being irreplaceable source of new drugs (such as taxol), deforestation can destroy genetic variations (such as crop resistance) irretrievably.<ref>Single-largest biodiversity survey says primary rainforest is irreplaceable, Bio-Medicine, November 14, 2007</ref>

Illegal logging in Madagascar. In 2009, the vast majority of the illegally obtained rosewood was exported to China.

Since the tropical rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on Earth<ref>Tropical rainforests – The tropical rainforest, BBC</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and about 80% of the world's known biodiversity could be found in tropical rainforests,<ref>U.N. calls on Asian nations to end deforestation, Reuters, 20 June 2008</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded<ref>Tropical rainforests – Rainforest water and nutrient cycles, BBC</ref> environment with reduced biodiversity.<ref name="SahneyBentonFalconLang 2010RainforestCollapse"/><ref>Rhett A. Butler, Primary rainforest richer in species than plantations, secondary forests, mongabay.com, 2 July 2007</ref>

It has been estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to 50,000 species a year.<ref name="rain-tree.com">Rainforest Facts. Rain-tree.com (2010-03-20). Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref> Others state that tropical rainforest deforestation is contributing to the ongoing Holocene mass extinction.<ref>Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin, 1996, The Sixth Extinction : Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind, Anchor, ISBN 0-385-46809-1</ref><ref>The great rainforest tragedy, The Independent, 28 June 2003</ref> The known extinction rates from deforestation rates are very low, approximately 1 species per year from mammals and birds which extrapolates to approximately 23,000 species per year for all species. Predictions have been made that more than 40% of the animal and plant species in Southeast Asia could be wiped out in the 21st century.<ref>Biodiversity wipeout facing South East Asia, New Scientist, 23 July 2003</ref> Such predictions were called into question by 1995 data that show that within regions of Southeast Asia much of the original forest has been converted to monospecific plantations, but that potentially endangered species are few and tree flora remains widespread and stable.<ref name="ReferenceB" />

Scientific understanding of the process of extinction is insufficient to accurately make predictions about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Most predictions of forestry related biodiversity loss are based on species-area models, with an underlying assumption that as the forest declines species diversity will decline similarly.<ref name="ReferenceA">Template:Cite book</ref> However, many such models have been proven to be wrong and loss of habitat does not necessarily lead to large scale loss of species.<ref name="ReferenceA" /> Species-area models are known to overpredict the number of species known to be threatened in areas where actual deforestation is ongoing, and greatly overpredict the number of threatened species that are widespread.<ref name="ReferenceB">Template:Cite journal</ref>

A recent study of the Brazilian Amazon predicts that despite a lack of extinctions thus far, up to 90 percent of predicted extinctions will finally occur in the next 40 years.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Economic impact

Damage to forests and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor and reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050, a report concluded at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Bonn.<ref>Nature loss 'to hurt global poor', BBC News, May 29, 2008</ref> Historically, utilization of forest products, including timber and fuel wood, has played a key role in human societies, comparable to the roles of water and cultivable land. Today, developed countries continue to utilize timber for building houses, and wood pulp for paper. In developing countries almost three billion people rely on wood for heating and cooking.<ref>Forest Products. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-12-04.</ref>

The forest products industry is a large part of the economy in both developed and developing countries. Short-term economic gains made by conversion of forest to agriculture, or over-exploitation of wood products, typically leads to loss of long-term income and long-term biological productivity. West Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia and many other regions have experienced lower revenue because of declining timber harvests. Illegal logging causes billions of dollars of losses to national economies annually.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Holzstaemme

The new procedures to get amounts of wood are causing more harm to the economy and overpower the amount of money spent by people employed in logging.<ref>Deforestation Across the World's Tropical Forests Emits Large Amounts of Greenhouse Gases with Little Economic Benefits, According to a New Study at CGIAR.org, December 4, 2007</ref> According to a study, "in most areas studied, the various ventures that prompted deforestation rarely generated more than US$5 for every ton of carbon they released and frequently returned far less than US$1". The price on the European market for an offset tied to a one-ton reduction in carbon is 23 euro (about US$35).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Rapidly growing economies also have an effect on deforestation. Most pressure will come from the world's developing countries, which have the fastest-growing populations and most rapid economic (industrial) growth.<ref name="autogenerated1">Kenneth Chomitz. "Roads, lands, markets, and deforestation : a spatial model of land use in Belize." 04/30/95.</ref> In 1995, economic growth in developing countries reached nearly 6%, compared with the 2% growth rate for developed countries.”<ref name="autogenerated1"/> As our human population grows, new homes, communities, and expansions of cities will occur. Connecting all of the new expansions will be roads, a very important part in our daily life. Rural roads promote economic development but also facilitate deforestation.<ref name="autogenerated1"/> About 90% of the deforestation has occurred within 100 km of roads in most parts of the Amazon.<ref name="autogenerated2">Template:Cite journal</ref>

Forest transition theory

File:Forest transition theory.jpg
The forest transition and historical baselines.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The forest area change may follow a pattern suggested by the forest transition (FT) theory,<ref name="MeyfroidtLambin2011">Meyfroidt, P., Lambin, E.F. 2011. Global Forest Transition: Prospects for an End to Deforestation. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 36: 343-371</ref> whereby at early stages in its development a country is characterized by high forest cover and low deforestation rates (HFLD countries).<ref name=rud/>

Then deforestation rates accelerate (HFHD, high forest cover – high deforestation rate), and forest cover is reduced (LFHD. low forest cover – high deforestation rate), before the deforestation rate slows (LFLD, low forest cover – low deforestation rate), after which forest cover stabilizes and eventually starts recovering. FT is not a “law of nature,” and the pattern is influenced by national context (for example, human population density, stage of development, structure of the economy), global economic forces, and government policies. A country may reach very low levels of forest cover before it stabilizes, or it might through good policies be able to “bridge” the forest transition.

FT depicts a broad trend, and an extrapolation of historical rates therefore tends to underestimate future BAU deforestation for counties at the early stages in the transition (HFLD), while it tends to overestimate BAU deforestation for countries at the later stages (LFHD and LFLD).

Countries with high forest cover can be expected to be at early stages of the FT. GDP per capita captures the stage in a country’s economic development, which is linked to the pattern of natural resource use, including forests. The choice of forest cover and GDP per capita also fits well with the two key scenarios in the FT:

(i) a forest scarcity path, where forest scarcity triggers forces (for example, higher prices of forest products) that lead to forest cover stabilization; and

(ii) an economic development path, where new and better off-farm employment opportunities associated with economic growth (= increasing GDP per capita) reduce profitability of frontier agriculture and slows deforestation.<ref name=rud/>

Historical causes

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Prehistory

The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse,<ref name="SahneyBentonFalconLang 2010RainforestCollapse"/> was an event that occurred 300 million years ago. Climate change devastated tropical rainforests causing the extinction of many plant and animal species. The change was abrupt, specifically, at this time climate became cooler and drier, conditions that are not favourable to the growth of rainforests and much of the biodiversity within them. Rainforests were fragmented forming shrinking 'islands' further and further apart. This sudden collapse affected several large groups, effects on amphibians were particularly devastating, while reptiles fared better, being ecologically adapted to the drier conditions that followed.

An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools.

Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.<ref>Leslie Taylor. "The Healing Power of Rainforests."</ref> Small scale deforestation was practiced by some societies for tens of thousands of years before the beginnings of civilization.<ref name=FutureEaters>Template:Cite book</ref> The first evidence of deforestation appears in the Mesolithic period.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> It was probably used to convert closed forests into more open ecosystems favourable to game animals.<ref name=FutureEaters/> With the advent of agriculture, larger areas began to be deforested, and fire became the prime tool to clear land for crops. In Europe there is little solid evidence before 7000 BC. Mesolithic foragers used fire to create openings for red deer and wild boar. In Great Britain, shade-tolerant species such as oak and ash are replaced in the pollen record by hazels, brambles, grasses and nettles. Removal of the forests led to decreased transpiration, resulting in the formation of upland peat bogs. Widespread decrease in elm pollen across Europe between 8400–8300 BC and 7200–7000 BC, starting in southern Europe and gradually moving north to Great Britain, may represent land clearing by fire at the onset of Neolithic agriculture.

The Neolithic period saw extensive deforestation for farming land.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Stone axes were being made from about 3000 BC not just from flint, but from a wide variety of hard rocks from across Britain and North America as well. They include the noted Langdale axe industry in the English Lake District, quarries developed at Penmaenmawr in North Wales and numerous other locations. Rough-outs were made locally near the quarries, and some were polished locally to give a fine finish. This step not only increased the mechanical strength of the axe, but also made penetration of wood easier. Flint was still used from sources such as Grimes Graves but from many other mines across Europe.

Evidence of deforestation has been found in Minoan Crete; for example the environs of the Palace of Knossos were severely deforested in the Bronze Age.<ref>C. Michael Hogan. 2007. "Knossos fieldnotes", The Modern Antiquarian</ref>

Pre-industrial history

Throughout most of history, humans were hunter gatherers who hunted within forests. In most areas, such as the Amazon, the tropics, Central America, and the Caribbean,<ref>Encyclopćdia Britannica Online School Edition. School.eb.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref> only after shortages of wood and other forest products occur are policies implemented to ensure forest resources are used in a sustainable manner.

In ancient Greece, Tjeered van Andel and co-writers<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> summarized three regional studies of historic erosion and alluviation and found that, wherever adequate evidence exists, a major phase of erosion follows, by about 500-1,000 years the introduction of farming in the various regions of Greece, ranging from the later Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. The thousand years following the mid-first millennium BC saw serious, intermittent pulses of soil erosion in numerous places. The historic silting of ports along the southern coasts of Asia Minor (e.g. Clarus, and the examples of Ephesus, Priene and Miletus, where harbors had to be abandoned because of the silt deposited by the Meander) and in coastal Syria during the last centuries BC.

Easter Island

Easter Island has suffered from heavy soil erosion in recent centuries, aggravated by agriculture and deforestation.<ref>"The Mystery of Easter Island", Smithsonian Magazine, April 01, 2007</ref> Jared Diamond gives an extensive look into the collapse of the ancient Easter Islanders in his book Collapse. The disappearance of the island's trees seems to coincide with a decline of its civilization around the 17th and 18th century. He attributed the collapse to deforestation and over-exploitation of all resources.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The famous silting up of the harbor for Bruges, which moved port commerce to Antwerp, also followed a period of increased settlement growth (and apparently of deforestation) in the upper river basins. In early medieval Riez in upper Provence, alluvial silt from two small rivers raised the riverbeds and widened the floodplain, which slowly buried the Roman settlement in alluvium and gradually moved new construction to higher ground; concurrently the headwater valleys above Riez were being opened to pasturage.Template:Citation needed

A typical progress trap was that cities were often built in a forested area, which would provide wood for some industry (for example, construction, shipbuilding, pottery). When deforestation occurs without proper replanting, however; local wood supplies become difficult to obtain near enough to remain competitive, leading to the city's abandonment, as happened repeatedly in Ancient Asia Minor. Because of fuel needs, mining and metallurgy often led to deforestation and city abandonment.Template:Citation needed

With most of the population remaining active in (or indirectly dependent on) the agricultural sector, the main pressure in most areas remained land clearing for crop and cattle farming. Enough wild green was usually left standing (and partially used, for example, to collect firewood, timber and fruits, or to graze pigs) for wildlife to remain viable. The elite's (nobility and higher clergy) protection of their own hunting privileges and game often protected significant woodlands.Template:Citation needed

Major parts in the spread (and thus more durable growth) of the population were played by monastical 'pioneering' (especially by the Benedictine and Commercial orders) and some feudal lords' recruiting farmers to settle (and become tax payers) by offering relatively good legal and fiscal conditions. Even when speculators sought to encourage towns, settlers needed an agricultural belt around or sometimes within defensive walls. When populations were quickly decreased by causes such as the Black Death or devastating warfare (for example, Genghis Khan's Mongol hordes in eastern and central Europe, Thirty Years' War in Germany), this could lead to settlements being abandoned. The land was reclaimed by nature, but the secondary forests usually lacked the original biodiversity.

Deforestation of Brazil's Atlantic Forest c.1820-1825

From 1100 to 1500 AD, significant deforestation took place in Western Europe as a result of the expanding human population. The large-scale building of wooden sailing ships by European (coastal) naval owners since the 15th century for exploration, colonisation, slave trade–and other trade on the high seas consumed many forest resources. Piracy also contributed to the over harvesting of forests, as in Spain. This led to a weakening of the domestic economy after Columbus' discovery of America, as the economy became dependent on colonial activities (plundering, mining, cattle, plantations, trade, etc.)Template:Citation needed

In Changes in the Land (1983), William Cronon analyzed and documented 17th-century English colonists' reports of increased seasonal flooding in New England during the period when new settlers initially cleared the forests for agriculture. They believed flooding was linked to widespread forest clearing upstream.

The massive use of charcoal on an industrial scale in Early Modern Europe was a new type of consumption of western forests; even in Stuart England, the relatively primitive production of charcoal has already reached an impressive level. Stuart England was so widely deforested that it depended on the Baltic trade for ship timbers, and looked to the untapped forests of New England to supply the need. Each of Nelson's Royal Navy war ships at Trafalgar (1805) required 6,000 mature oaks for its construction. In France, Colbert planted oak forests to supply the French navy in the future. When the oak plantations matured in the mid-19th century, the masts were no longer required because shipping had changed.

Norman F. Cantor's summary of the effects of late medieval deforestation applies equally well to Early Modern Europe:<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Template:Quote

Industrial era

In the 19th century, introduction of steamboats in the United States was the cause of deforestation of banks of major rivers, such as the Mississippi River, with increased and more severe flooding one of the environmental results. The steamboat crews cut wood every day from the riverbanks to fuel the steam engines. Between St. Louis and the confluence with the Ohio River to the south, the Mississippi became more wide and shallow, and changed its channel laterally. Attempts to improve navigation by the use of snagpullers often resulted in crews' clearing large trees 100 to Template:Convert back from the banks. Several French colonial towns of the Illinois Country, such as Kaskaskia, Cahokia and St. Philippe, Illinois were flooded and abandoned in the late 19th century, with a loss to the cultural record of their archeology.<ref>F. Terry Norris, "Where Did the Villages Go? Steamboats, Deforestation, and Archaeological Loss in the Mississippi Valley", in Common Fields: an environmental history of St. Louis, Andrew Hurley, ed., St. Louis, MO: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1997, ISBN 978-1-883982-15-7 pp. 73–89</ref>

The wholescale clearance of woodland to create agricultural land can be seen in many parts of the world, such as the Central forest-grasslands transition and other areas of the Great Plains of the United States. Specific parallels are seen in the 20th-century deforestation occurring in many developing nations.

Rates

Global deforestation sharply accelerated around 1852.<ref name="Wilson">E. O. Wilson, 2002, The Future of Life, Vintage ISBN 0-679-76811-4</ref><ref>Map reveals extent of deforestation in tropical countries, guardian.co.uk, July 1, 2008</ref> It has been estimated that about half of the Earth's mature tropical forests—between 7.5 million and 8 million km2 (2.9 million to 3 million sq mi) of the original 15 million to 16 million km2 (5.8 million to 6.2 million sq mi) that until 1947 covered the planet<ref name=worldbook>Maycock, Paul F. Deforestation. WorldBookOnline.</ref>—have now been destroyed.<ref name="Rainforest Facts"/><ref name="Nielsen">Ron Nielsen, The Little Green Handbook: Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Our Planet, Picador, New York (2006) ISBN 978-0-312-42581-4</ref> Some scientists have predicted that unless significant measures (such as seeking out and protecting old growth forests that have not been disturbed)<ref name=worldbook /> are taken on a worldwide basis, by 2030 there will only be 10% remaining,<ref name="Wilson" /><ref name="Nielsen" /> with another 10% in a degraded condition.<ref name="Wilson" /> 80% will have been lost, and with them hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable species.<ref name="Wilson" /> Some cartographers have attempted to illustrate the sheer scale of deforestation by country using a cartogram.<ref>Victor Vescovo. (2006). The Atlas of World Statistics. The Caladan Press. Retrieved 2012-08-03.</ref>

Estimates vary widely as to the extent of tropical deforestation.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref><ref>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000). Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry. Cambridge University Press. Template:Page needed</ref> Scientists estimate that one fifth of the world's tropical rainforest was destroyed between 1960 and 1990Template:Citation needed. They claim that that rainforests 50 years ago covered 14%Template:Citation needed of the world's land surface, now only cover 5–7%, and that all tropical forests will be gone by the middle of the 21st century.<ref name="envsci-encyc-104">Template:Cite book</ref>

A 2002 analysis of satellite imagery suggested that the rate of deforestation in the humid tropics (approximately 5.8 million hectares per year) was roughly 23% lower than the most commonly quoted rates.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Conversely, a newer analysis of satellite images reveals that deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is twice as fast as scientists previously estimated.<ref>Jha, Alok. "Amazon rainforest vanishing at twice rate of previous estimates". The Guardian. 21 October 2005.</ref><ref>Satellite images reveal Amazon forest shrinking faster, csmonitor.com, 21 October 2005</ref>

Some have argued that deforestation trends may follow a Kuznets curve,<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> which if true would nonetheless fail to eliminate the risk of irreversible loss of non-economic forest values (for example, the extinction of species).<ref>Environmental Economics: A deforestation Kuznets curve?, November 22, 2006</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Satellite image of Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic (right) shows the amount of deforestation on the Haitian side

A 2005 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that although the Earth's total forest area continues to decrease at about 13 million hectares per year, the global rate of deforestation has recently been slowing.<ref name=pantropical>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Committee On Forestry. FAO (2001-03-16). Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref> Still others claim that rainforests are being destroyed at an ever-quickening pace.<ref>Worldwatch: Wood Production and Deforestation Increase & Recent Content, Worldwatch Institute</ref> The London-based Rainforest Foundation notes that "the UN figure is based on a definition of forest as being an area with as little as 10% actual tree cover, which would therefore include areas that are actually savannah-like ecosystems and badly damaged forests."<ref name="news.mongabay.com">Template:Cite web</ref> Other critics of the FAO data point out that they do not distinguish between forest types,<ref>The fear is that highly diverse habitats, such as tropical rainforest, are vanishing at a faster rate that is partly masked by the slower deforestation of less biodiverse, dry, open forests. Because of this omission, the most harmful impacts of deforestation (such as habitat loss) could be increasing despite a possible decline in the global rate of deforestation.</ref> and that they are based largely on reporting from forestry departments of individual countries,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> which do not take into account unofficial activities like illegal logging.<ref>The World Bank estimates that 80% of logging operations are illegal in Bolivia and 42% in Colombia, while in Peru, illegal logging accounts for 80% of all logging activities. (World Bank (2004). Forest Law Enforcement.) (The Peruvian Environmental Law Society (2003). Case Study on the Development and Implementation of Guidelines for the Control of Illegal Logging with a View to Sustainable Forest Management in Peru.)</ref>

Despite these uncertainties, there is agreement that destruction of rainforests remains a significant environmental problem. Up to 90% of West Africa's coastal rainforests have disappeared since 1900.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In South Asia, about 88% of the rainforests have been lost.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Much of what remains of the world's rainforests is in the Amazon basin, where the Amazon Rainforest covers approximately 4 million square kilometres.<ref>The Amazon Rainforest, BBC, 14 February 2003</ref> The regions with the highest tropical deforestation rate between 2000 and 2005 were Central America—which lost 1.3% of its forests each year—and tropical Asia.<ref name="news.mongabay.com" /> In Central America, two-thirds of lowland tropical forests have been turned into pasture since 1950 and 40% of all the rainforests have been lost in the last 40 years.<ref name="ru.org">Template:Cite web</ref> Brazil has lost 90–95% of its Mata Atlântica forest.,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Paraguay was losing its natural semi humid forests in the country’s western regions at a rate of 15.000 hectares at a randomly studied 2 month period in 2010,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Paraguay’s parliament refused in 2009 to pass a law that would have stopped cutting of natural forests altogether.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Madagascar has lost 90% of its eastern rainforests.<ref>IUCN – Three new sites inscribed on World Heritage List, 27 June 2007</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> As of 2007, less than 1% of Haiti's forests remained.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Mexico, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, have lost large areas of their rainforest.<ref>Chart – Tropical Deforestation by Country & Region. Mongabay.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.</ref><ref>Rainforest Destruction. rainforestweb.org</ref> Several countries, notably Brazil, have declared their deforestation a national emergency.<ref>Amazon deforestation rises sharply in 2007, USATODAY.com, January 24, 2008</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The World Wildlife Fund's ecoregion project catalogues habitat types throughout the world, including habitat loss such as deforestation, showing for example that even in the rich forests of parts of Canada such as the Mid-Continental Canadian forests of the prairie provinces half of the forest cover has been lost or altered.

In November 2012, the Brazilian government said deforestation had hit a 24-year low. Only 4656 square kilometres of rainforest was destroyed between August 2011 and July 2012, 27 percent less than the previous year.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Regions

Template:Main Rates of deforestation vary around the world.

In 2011 Conservation International listed the top 10 most endangered forests, characterized by having all lost 90% or more of their original habitat, and each harboring at least 1500 endemic plant species (species found nowhere else in the world).<ref name=ci2011/>

Top 10 Most Endangered Forests 2011
Endangered forest Region Remaining habitat Predominate vegetation type Notes
Indo-Burma Asia-Pacific 5% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Rivers, floodplain wetlands, mangrove forests. Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, India.<ref>Indo-Burma, Conservation International.</ref>
New Caledonia Asia-Pacific 5% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests See note for region covered.<ref>New Caledonia, Conservation International.</ref>
Sundaland Asia-Pacific 7% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Western half of the Indo-Malayan archipelago including southern Borneo and Sumatra.<ref>Sundaland, Conservation International.</ref>
Philippines Asia-Pacific 7% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Forests over the entire country including 7,100 islands.<ref>Philippines, Conservation International.</ref>
Atlantic Forest South America 8% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Forests along Brazil's Atlantic coast, extends to parts of Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.<ref>Atlantic Forest, Conservation International.</ref>
Mountains of Southwest China Asia-Pacific 8% Temperate coniferous forest See note for region covered.<ref>Mountains of Southwest China, Conservation International.</ref>
California Floristic Province North America 10% Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests See note for region covered.<ref>California Floristic Province, Conservation International.</ref>
Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa Africa 10% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia.<ref>Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa, Conservation International.</ref>
Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands Africa 10% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Comoros.<ref>Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands, Conservation International.</ref>
Eastern Afromontane Africa 11% Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Montane grasslands and shrublands
Forests scattered along the eastern edge of Africa, from Saudi Arabia in the north to Zimbabwe in the south.<ref>Eastern Afromontane, Conservation International.</ref>
Table source:<ref name=ci2011>The World's 10 Most Threatened Forest Hotspots, Conservation International, February 2, 2011.</ref>

Control

Reducing emissions

Template:Main Main international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank, have begun to develop programs aimed at curbing deforestation. The blanket term Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) describes these sorts of programs, which use direct monetary or other incentives to encourage developing countries to limit and/or roll back deforestation. Funding has been an issue, but at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties-15 (COP-15) in Copenhagen in December 2009, an accord was reached with a collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, that will approach USD 30 billion for the period 2010–2012.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Significant work is underway on tools for use in monitoring developing country adherence to their agreed REDD targets. These tools, which rely on remote forest monitoring using satellite imagery and other data sources, include the Center for Global Development's FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) initiative <ref>Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA) : Center for Global Development : Initiatives: Active. Cgdev.org (2009-11-23). Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref> and the Group on Earth Observations' Forest Carbon Tracking Portal.<ref>Browser – GEO FCT Portal. Portal.geo-fct.org. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref> Methodological guidance for forest monitoring was also emphasized at COP-15 <ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The environmental organization Avoided Deforestation Partners leads the campaign for development of REDD through funding from the U.S. government.<ref>Agriculture Secretary Vilsack: $1 billion for REDD+ « Climate Progress. Climateprogress.org (2009-12-16). Retrieved on 2010-08-29.</ref>

In evaluating implications of overall emissions reductions, countries of greatest concern are those categorized as High Forest Cover with High Rates of Deforestation (HFHD) and Low Forest Cover with High Rates of Deforestation (LFHD). Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe are listed as having Low Forest Cover with High Rates of Deforestation (LFHD). Brazil, Cambodia, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Venezuela, Zambia are listed as High Forest Cover with High Rates of Deforestation (HFHD).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Farming

New methods are being developed to farm more intensively, such as high-yield hybrid crops, greenhouse, autonomous building gardens, and hydroponics. These methods are often dependent on chemical inputs to maintain necessary yields. In cyclic agriculture, cattle are grazed on farm land that is resting and rejuvenating. Cyclic agriculture actually increases the fertility of the soil. Intensive farming can also decrease soil nutrients by consuming at an accelerated rate the trace minerals needed for crop growth.Template:Citation neededThe most promising approach, however, is the concept of food forests in permaculture, which consists of agroforestal systems carefully designed to mimic natural forests, with an emphasis on plant and animal species of interest for food, timber and other uses. These systems have low dependence on fossil fuels and agro-chemicals, are highly self-maintaining, highly productive, and with strong positive impact on soil and water quality, and biodiversity.

Monitoring deforestation

There are multiple methods that are appropriate and reliable for reducing and monitoring deforestation. One method is the “visual interpretation of aerial photos or satellite imagery that is labor-intensive but does not require high-level training in computer image processing or extensive computational resources”.<ref name="autogenerated2"/> Another method includes hot-spot analysis (that is, locations of rapid change) using expert opinion or coarse resolution satellite data to identify locations for detailed digital analysis with high resolution satellite images.<ref name="autogenerated2"/> Deforestation is typically assessed by quantifying the amount of area deforested, measured at the present time. From an environmental point of view, quantifying the damage and its possible consequences is a more important task, while conservation efforts are more focused on forested land protection and development of land-use alternatives to avoid continued deforestation.<ref name="autogenerated2"/> Deforestation rate and total area deforested, have been widely used for monitoring deforestation in many regions, including the Brazilian Amazon deforestation monitoring by INPE.<ref name="ReferenceC"/> Monitoring deforestation is a very complicated process, which becomes even more complicated with the increasing needs for resources.

Forest management

Efforts to stop or slow deforestation have been attempted for many centuries because it has long been known that deforestation can cause environmental damage sufficient in some cases to cause societies to collapse. In Tonga, paramount rulers developed policies designed to prevent conflicts between short-term gains from converting forest to farmland and long-term problems forest loss would cause,<ref>Diamond, Jared Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed; Viking Press 2004, pp. 301–302 ISBN 0-14-311700-9</ref> while during the 17th and 18th centuries in Tokugawa, Japan,<ref>Diamond, Jared Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed; Viking Press 2004, pp. 320–331 ISBN 0-14-311700-9</ref> the shoguns developed a highly sophisticated system of long-term planning to stop and even reverse deforestation of the preceding centuries through substituting timber by other products and more efficient use of land that had been farmed for many centuries. In 16th century Germany landowners also developed silviculture to deal with the problem of deforestation. However, these policies tend to be limited to environments with good rainfall, no dry season and very young soils (through volcanism or glaciation). This is because on older and less fertile soils trees grow too slowly for silviculture to be economic, whilst in areas with a strong dry season there is always a risk of forest fires destroying a tree crop before it matures.

In the areas where "slash-and-burn" is practiced, switching to "slash-and-char" would prevent the rapid deforestation and subsequent degradation of soils. The biochar thus created, given back to the soil, is not only a durable carbon sequestration method, but it also is an extremely beneficial amendment to the soil. Mixed with biomass it brings the creation of terra preta, one of the richest soils on the planet and the only one known to regenerate itself.

Sustainable practices

Certification, as provided by global certification systems such as Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council, contributes to tackling deforestation by creating market demand for timber from sustainably managed forests. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), "A major condition for the adoption of sustainable forest management is a demand for products that are produced sustainably and consumer willingness to pay for the higher costs entailed. Certification represents a shift from regulatory approaches to market incentives to promote sustainable forest management. By promoting the positive attributes of forest products from sustainably managed forests, certification focuses on the demand side of environmental conservation."<ref>"State of the World's Forests 2009". United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.</ref> Rainforest Rescue argues that the standards of organizations like FSC are too closely connected to industry interests and therefore do not guarantee environmentally and socially responsible forest management. In reality, monitoring systems are inadequate and various cases of fraud have been documented worldwide.<ref>Rainforest Rescue: Facts about Tropical Timber</ref>

Some nations have taken steps to help increase the amount of trees on Earth. In 1981, China created National Tree Planting Day Forest and forest coverage had now reached 16.55% of China's land mass, as against only 12% two decades ago <ref>John Gittings. "Battling China's Deforestation." The Guardian. 20 March 2001</ref>

Reforestation

Template:Main In many parts of the world, especially in East Asian countries, reforestation and afforestation are increasing the area of forested lands.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> The amount of woodland has increased in 22 of the world's 50 most forested nations. Asia as a whole gained 1 million hectares of forest between 2000 and 2005. Tropical forest in El Salvador expanded more than 20% between 1992 and 2001. Based on these trends, one study projects that global forest will increase by 10%—an area the size of India—by 2050.<ref name="news.nationalgeographic.com">James Owen, "World's Forests Rebounding, Study Suggests" National Geographic News, 13 November 2006</ref>

In the People's Republic of China, where large scale destruction of forests has occurred, the government has in the past required that every able-bodied citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 plant three to five trees per year or do the equivalent amount of work in other forest services. The government claims that at least 1 billion trees have been planted in China every year since 1982. This is no longer required today, but March 12 of every year in China is the Planting Holiday. Also, it has introduced the Green Wall of China project, which aims to halt the expansion of the Gobi desert through the planting of trees. However, due to the large percentage of trees dying off after planting (up to 75%), the project is not very successful.Template:Citation needed There has been a 47-million-hectare increase in forest area in China since the 1970s.<ref name="news.nationalgeographic.com" /> The total number of trees amounted to be about 35 billion and 4.55% of China's land mass increased in forest coverage. The forest coverage was 12% two decades ago and now is 16.55%.<ref>John Gittings, "Battling China's deforestation", World News, 20 March 2001</ref>

An ambitious proposal for China is the Aerially Delivered Re-forestation and Erosion Control System and the proposed Sahara Forest Project coupled with the Seawater Greenhouse.

In Western countries, increasing consumer demand for wood products that have been produced and harvested in a sustainable manner is causing forest landowners and forest industries to become increasingly accountable for their forest management and timber harvesting practices.

The Arbor Day Foundation's Rain Forest Rescue program is a charity that helps to prevent deforestation. The charity uses donated money to buy up and preserve rainforest land before the lumber companies can buy it. The Arbor Day Foundation then protects the land from deforestation. This also locks in the way of life of the primitive tribes living on the forest land. Organizations such as Community Forestry International, Cool Earth, The Nature Conservancy, World Wide Fund for Nature, Conservation International, African Conservation Foundation and Greenpeace also focus on preserving forest habitats. Greenpeace in particular has also mapped out the forests that are still intact<ref>[1]</ref> and published this information on the internet.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> World Resources Institute in turn has made a simpler thematic map<ref>The World's Forests from a Restoration Perspective, WRI</ref> showing the amount of forests present just before the age of man (8000 years ago) and the current (reduced) levels of forest.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> These maps mark the amount of afforestation required to repair the damage caused by people.

Forest plantations

To meet the world's demand for wood, it has been suggested by forestry writers Botkins and Sedjo that high-yielding forest plantations are suitable. It has been calculated that plantations yielding 10 cubic meters per hectare annually could supply all the timber required for international trade on 5% of the world's existing forestland. By contrast, natural forests produce about 1–2 cubic meters per hectare; therefore, 5–10 times more forestland would be required to meet demand. Forester Chad Oliver has suggested a forest mosaic with high-yield forest lands interpersed with conservation land.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

In the country of Senegal, on the western coast of Africa, a movement headed by youths has helped to plant over 6 million mangrove trees. The trees will protect local villages from storm damages and will provide a habitat for local wildlife. The project started in 2008, and already the Senegalese government has been asked to establish rules and regulations that would protect the new mangrove forests.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Military context

American Sherman tanks knocked out by Japanese artillery on Okinawa.
While the preponderance of deforestation is due to demands for agricultural and urban use for the human population, there are some examples of military causes. One example of deliberate deforestation is that which took place in the U.S. zone of occupation in Germany after World War II. Before the onset of the Cold War, defeated Germany was still considered a potential future threat rather than potential future ally. To address this threat, attempts were made to lower German industrial potential, of which forests were deemed an element. Sources in the U.S. government admitted that the purpose of this was that the "ultimate destruction of the war potential of German forests." As a consequence of the practice of clear-felling, deforestation resulted which could "be replaced only by long forestry development over perhaps a century."<ref>Nicholas Balabkins, "Germany Under Direct Controls; Economic Aspects Of Industrial Disarmament 1945–1948, Rutgers University Press, 1964. p. 119. The two quotes used by Balabkins are referenced to, respectively: U.S. office of Military Government, A Year of Potsdam: The German Economy Since the Surrender (1946), p. 70; and U.S. Office of Military Government, The German Forest Resources Survey (1948), p. II. For similar observations see G.W. Harmssen, Reparationen, Sozialproduct, Lebensstandard (Bremen: F. Trujen Verlag, 1948), I, 48</ref>

War can also be a cause of deforestation, either deliberately such as through the use of Agent Orange<ref>"Encyclopedia of World Environmental History". Routledge, 2004. ISBN 0-415-93733-7</ref> during the Vietnam War where, together with bombs and bulldozers, it contributed to the destruction of 44% of the forest cover,<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> or inadvertently such as in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa where bombardment and other combat operations reduced the lush tropical landscape into "a vast field of mud, lead, decay and maggots".<ref>Takejiro Higa, Military Intelligence Service, Battle of Okinawa, The Hawaii Nisei Project</ref> Template:See also

See also

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References

Notes

Template:Reflist

General references

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Template:Refend

Ethiopia deforestation references

Template:Refbegin

  • Parry, J. (2003). Tree choppers become tree planters. Appropriate Technology, 30(4), 38–39. Retrieved November 22, 2006, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 538367341).
  • Hillstrom, K & Hillstrom, C. (2003). Africa and the Middle east. A continental Overview of Environmental Issues. Santabarbara, CA: ABC CLIO.
  • Williams, M. (2006). Deforesting the earth: From prehistory to global crisis: An Abridgment. Chicago: The university of Chicago Press.
  • Mccann. J.C. (1990). A Great Agrarian cycle? Productivity in Highland Ethiopia, 1900 To 1987. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, xx: 3,389–416. Retrieved November 18, 2006, from JSTOR database.

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