Deforestation is a major global problem with serious consequences to
the planet. These consequences have a negative effect on the climate,
biodiversity, the atmosphere and threatens the cultural and physical
survival of life. Deforestation is the permanent destruction of
indigenous forests and woodlands. It has resulted in the reduction of
indigenous forests to four-fifths of their pre-agricultural area, so
that now indigenous forests cover only 21% of the earth's land
surface. The world Resources Institute regards deforestation as one of
the worlds most pressing land use problem. It is now so bad that every
minute an area of forest equal to 20 football fields is lost.
Rainforests cover less than 2 % of the Earth's surface, yet they are
home to some 50 to 70 % of all life form on our planet. It has been
stated that by the year 2010 the projected loss will be about a
million species (that represents about 25% of the estimated diversity
of life on Earth). Previous mass extinction's have occurred over
millions of years rather than a few decades.
The rainforests are the most richest, oldest, most productive and most
complex ecosystems on earth and to provide the developed world with
goods such as mahogany toilet seats and cheap beefburgers, rainforest
destruction is occurring at a frightening rate. In less than 100 years
time there may be no rainforests left, and the effects of this both on
the gene pool of the planet and on its climate are as yet unknown.
Only concerted conservation efforts by all parties, both the owners of
the forests and the consumers of the developed world can prevent the
long-term loss of this irreplaceable biome.
Commercial logging is the single largest cause of rainforest
destruction both directly and indirectly as logging frequently damages
more trees than it removes. Logging tropical hardwoods like teak,
mahogany, rosewood and other timber for furniture, building materials,
charcoal and other wood products is big business and creates big
profits. Several species of tropical hardwoods are imported by
developed counties, including America, just to build coffins which are
then buried or burned. The demand, extraction and consumption of
tropical hardwoods has been so massive that some countries which have
been traditional exporters of tropical hardwoods are now importing the
wood because they have already exhausted their supply by destroying
their native rainforests in slash and burn operations. It is
anticipated that The Philippines, Malaysia, The Ivory Coast, Nigeria
and Thailand will all run out of rainforest hardwood for export within
the next five years.
In addition to logging for exportation, rainforest wood stays in
developing countries for fuel wood and charcoal. One single steel
plant in Brazil making steel for Japanese cars needs millions of...