Deforestation is the cutting, clearing and removal of massive amounts of forests, which sometimes results in damaging the land quality. There are many causes of deforestation, however most of it is done so that the land may be used for other purposes, such as urbanization, or that the timber can be used. Some other causes are mining, oil and gas withdrawal, making room for cattle ranching and agriculture. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area. However, it is estimated that 12 to 15 million hectares, or roughly 36 football fields per minute, of forests are sacrificed each year due to deforestation. The rainforests are currently suffering an even higher rate of deforestation.
The effects of deforestation are many, however the largest effect is that on global climate change. Without the tree coverage, soil can dry out and cause desert-like conditions. The canopy that is provided for the forest plants and animals is removed with deforestation, resulting in more extreme temperature conditions. Greenhouse gases are absorbed by trees, so deforestation causes more greenhouse gases to enter the atmosphere, which increases the pace and severity of global warming. Another devastating effect of deforestation is the loss of species, also known as reduced biodiversity. The loss of habitat created by deforestation causes wildlife vulnerability from hunting, territorial conflicts or lack of food. With about 80% of the world’s species populating tropical rainforests, a majority of the Earth’s biodiversity remains at risk.