Deforestation of rainforests for farmland and cattle ranches

Deforestation Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Every human, tree, and animal will die if deforestation continues at its current pace. Climate change and global warming are partially driven by ongoing deforestation worldwide, and with no end in sight, we are at a pivotal crossroad capable of altering the future of life on earth. gathered information on what is causing deforestation, its effects on our planet, and how we can collectively solve this potentially catastrophic problem.

What is Deforestation

Deforestation, clearcutting, clearance, or clearing is the removal of the trees in a forest or stand of trees from a piece of land, then converted to a non-forest use.

Deforestation involves converting wooded land to farms, ranches, or urban areas. The majority of deforestation activities benefit the production of soy, beef, palm oil, and other widely popular and lucrative commodities.

Currently, the most widespread deforestation is occurring in the Amazon rainforest located in South America.

What Causes Deforestation

Deforestation occurs deliberately, naturally, or accidentally, and can happen anywhere trees densely populate land. The following are causal examples of deforestation:

• Volcanic eruptions
• Hurricanes
• Avalanches
• Temperature/Climate change
• Drought
• Disease
• Severe insect infestation
• Agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial land development
• Logging
• Strip mining
• Wartime/Human activities

These occurrences are dangerous because deforestation is self-perpetuating, and fuels further deforestation. The loss of trees and underbrush allows for flooding, soil erosion, higher temperatures, and desertification to occur more rapidly and exponentially.

Deforestation caused by logging industry

While it may seem that natural occurrences are to blame for the majority of tree loss, it is – in fact – human activity that causes the most deforestation worldwide.

Deforestation Effects

While studies continue on the grave effects of deforestation, there is much that is already known. The following are effects or consequences induced by continued deforestation:

Atmospheric Effects of Deforestation – Forests are carbon sinks that sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in its place. The rainforests of South America are responsible for 20% of Earth’s breathable oxygen.

As trees are cut down, the carbon dioxide they have sequestered is subsequently released back into the atmosphere, increasing the quantity of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.

Atmospheric Water – Trees help control the level of water found in the atmosphere. As trees are cut down, there is less water in the air to return to the soil. The result of deforestation is dryer soil that eventually will no longer support agriculture or cattle ranching.

Loss of Habitat – Eighty percent of Earth’s known animal and plant species reside in forests.
Forest trees provide shelter, while the canopy helps regulate light and temperatures. As these trees are removed, temperature variations, increased sunlight, and vulnerability could prove fatal for all forest plant and animal species.

Deforestation leading to loss of habitat for wildlife and extinction of animal species

This loss of habitat can result in the endangerment or extinction of known species, and more tragically, the loss of unknown species.

Flooding and Soil Erosion – Underground, tree, shrub, brush, and grassroots all work together to prevent soil erosion. Without trees, precious topsoil erodes and washes away, leaving the land sterile and more prone to flooding.

Soil erosion on deforested farmland only serves to perpetuate deforestation. As the land can no longer support crop growth or cattle grazing, new land is deforested.

Indigenous People’s Homeland – While the effects of deforestation in the urban setting are not yet as poignant, the impact on the indigenous tribes of the rainforests are immediate and often catastrophic.

Deforestation kills plants used for medicine and sustenance, drives away the animals, leaves the indigenous people susceptible to the elements, and violently disrupts their way of life.

Read more about how trees are vital to our environment at

Deforestation Solutions

There are many ways to look at potential solutions for deforestation. The obvious answer is to stop the human activities that are causing it. However, with an increasing population of people comes an increase in demand for the commodities grown on deforested land.

So, here is what you can do now to help reverse the effects of deforestation:

Plant a Tree – Every tree planted and cared for abates the effects of deforestation. You can learn about choosing the right species and planting location at

Deforestation and global warming can be slowed by planting trees

Research – By learning about organizations fighting deforestation and its global effect, you can gain insight on ways to help slow and eventually stop deforestation. For example:

• WWF – For more than 50 years, the World Wildlife Federation has worked with government entities, companies, and communities promoting certification for responsible forest management practices, combating illegal logging, reforming trade policies, protecting forested land, and much more.

• IUCN – Since 1948, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has been a membership Union composed of government and civil organizations. By providing public, private, and non-governmental organizations with information and tools that enable and support human progress, economic development, and nature conservation to take place simultaneously.

• Pachamama Alliance – The Pachamama Alliance is a global community offering people the opportunity to learn, connect, engage, travel, and cherish life to create a sustainable future for all. Read More at

Advocate – Take action by becoming a subscriber, donor, or member of an accredited organization that is responsibly working to stop unnecessary deforestation and the eventual demise of our climate.

Deforestation and Climate Change

Stopping deforestation is not “rocket science.” All living creatures depend on the planet’s forests in one way or another, and deforestation coupled with climate change is taking us down a path of inevitable calamity.

In this article, you discovered the causes of deforestation, its global effects, and what you can do to participate in solving these issues.

If deforestation continues unabated, global warming, climate change, and the destruction of life on earth is inevitable.


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