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The Big Answer


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Forest Loss

an article by our site

Each year, six million hectares (14.82 million acres) of productive dry land turn to desert. (One hectare = 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres.) The world lost about 3 per cent of its forests in the period 1990 to 2005. At present we are losing about 200 square kilometers of forest each day. Unfortunately, very few countries have any estimates of the actual rates of deforestation; even net change is just a guess. We live as if there is no tomorrow.

We live as if there is no tomorrow—let's start acting like we are sane! The world is in our hands.
We live as if there is no tomorrow—let's start acting like we are sane! The world is in our hands.


Each year, six million hectares (14.82 million acres) of productive dry land turn to desert
Each year, six million hectares (14.82 million acres) of productive dry land turn to desert

The destruction of the world's forests progresses at such a rate that in 30 years an area of land the size of India will have been stripped of trees. Brazil alone lost some 1.5 million hectares [that's 3.705 million acres] from 1981 to 1985. Deforestation disrupts life-support systems, threatening local and global climate change. Such environmental raping also creates the conditions for new germs to evolve and various existing species to become extinct. Yet only a tiny percentage of the cleared land is suitable for sustained farming. Most of this land is abandoned after a few years. What an incredible waste!

Earth’s beautiful, priceless tropical forests are being cut down so fast that by 2025 they may be gone
Earth’s beautiful, priceless tropical forests are being cut down so fast that by 2025 they may be gone

Earth’s beautiful, priceless tropical forests are being cut down at such an alarming rate that by 2025 they may have all but disappeared except in some of the remote parts of the Amazon and Zaire. Cattle ranchers in Latin America burn at least 2.5 million hectares [6.175 million acres] a year, while the landless peasants clear five times this [30.875 million acres] for subsistence farming. The fuel wood needs of growing populations often exceed the amount the land can support.

Two fifths of the world's original rain forest has already been destroyed—most of it in the last 50 years. Unfortunately, about half of ALL the world's animal and plant species live in rain forests and one fourth of medicinal drugs prescribed in the U.S. are derived from natural compounds, many of which are found only in tropical rain forests. It makes one wonder how many tropical rain forests Big Pharma is paying people to create. In your dreams . . .

Big Pharma spreading 'good health via medicine' across the land
Big Pharma spreading "good health via medicine" across the land

China, where there has been an annual increase of more than 4 million hectares recently, depends on afforestation, which means the planting of trees on land which was never before forested. Perhaps they're trying to offset the ton of coal burning they do there. Okay, truthfully, they had disastrous flooding in 1998, and China realized the tremendous flood control and soil protection benefits of intact forests, leading it to ban logging in key river basins and to begin planting trees at a rapid rate. The U.S. and Brazil are also plantng trees at a rapid rate—to filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation.

Planting trees
Planting trees


Forests supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation
Forests supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation

Forests provide many important goods, such as timber and paper. They also supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation. (Source: World Forest Area Still on the Decline, by Emily E. Adams, 2012, Earth Policy Institute)

Removing forests not only means the loss of this carbon carrying capacity but also frequently means that large amounts of greenhouse gas are suddenly released into the atmosphere through wood burning and clearance activities, compounding climate change problems. (Source: Forest losses and gains: where do we stand?)

Removing forests means the loss of carbon carrying capacity and lots of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere
Removing forests means the loss of carbon carrying capacity and lots of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere

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. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. More than half of the animal and plant species in the world live in tropical forests. The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area are removed. However in temperate climates, the removal of all trees in an area—in conformance with sustainable forestry practices—is correctly described as regeneration harvest. . . . 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. (Source: Deforestation) Such areas get replanted. And the lumber industry marches happily on.

Removing forests not only means the loss of this carbon carrying capacity but also frequently means that large amounts of greenhouse gas are suddenly released into the atmosphere
Removing forests not only means the loss of this carbon carrying capacity but also frequently means that large amounts of greenhouse gas are suddenly released into the atmosphere