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5 Big Causes of Deforestation and How You Can Stop It

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5 Big Causes of Deforestation and How You Can Stop It

Image Source: Ryan Tir/Flickr

The planet’s forests are under threat. Some 36 football fields of forests are hacked, burned, and destroyed every minute. With each forest clearing, we lose about 135 species of animals, plants, and insects a day.

Forests provide us with many benefits, including goods such as timber and paper. They help mitigate climate change by consuming the carbon dioxide we put into the air, while breathing out oxygen. Tropical rainforests, like those in the Amazon, play a vital role in the water cycle by providing rain to the region. It is also estimated that rainforests contain more than half of anti-cancer plants identified so far.

Eighty percent of land-dwelling species establish homes in forests and the biodiversity ensures global food security and helps alleviate poverty during times of crisis. So, why are we destroying what’s left of the planet’s forest?

There is no single factor that is responsible for deforestation. Rather, it’s a combination of forces that are devastating it. Click “Next” for the top 5 biggest causes of deforestation and ways for you to help stop it:

1. Agricultural Expansion

SoyPlantation

The conversion of forests into agricultural plantations is a major cause of deforestation.  The increase in global demand for commodities, such as palm oil and soybeans, are driving industrial-scale producers to clear forests at an alarming rate. Indonesia, the largest producer of palm oil, was named the “Fastest Forest Destroyer,” in the 2008 Guinness World Records. Even when efforts are made to replenish barren plantations, the depleted soil is not able to produce the same biodiversity it once was.

Solution 1: Plant a tree in your backyard, a community garden, or across the world.

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