What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the cutting down or clearing of forests. Trees are normally cut down for wood or to make things such as furniture and paper.
What causes deforestation?
Farming - this is the number one cause of deforestation. Huge areas of forests are cut down to make room to grow crops and raise animals.
Forest fires - when the weather is very hot, forest fires can happen naturally. Many forest fires are caused by people.
Logging - trees are cut down for things like wood and paper. They are also cut down to make room for roads to go further into the forest and cut down even more trees!
Illegal tree cutting - many trees are cut down in protected areas. This is done without permission and is very damaging for the forest.
Mining and drilling - trees are cut down to dig and find things under the earth.
Housing - forests around the world are cut down to build roads and homes for people.
Why are forests important?
Just like people live in houses, many plants and animals live in forests. Forests are their homes and without them, they cannot survive.
Forests are important for all living beings on the planet because they are full of plants and plants make oxygen. If we cut down trees, we all have less oxygen to breathe!
Trees are also important for the water cycle. They produce water vapour which rises into the sky, forming clouds and rain. When trees are cut down it can change the weather and the flow of rivers.
Did you know?
- Every minute, forests the size of 20 football fields are cut down.
- 25% of cancer killing medicines are found in the Amazon rainforest.
- Forests cover 30% of the Earth’s land.
- Around 20% of the oxygen on the planet is produced by rainforests.
- Almost 50% of the world’s timber and up to 70% of paper is consumed by Europe, the United States and Japan alone.