~~October 21, 2015~~
Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses. An estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
About half of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared (FAO)
Forests currently cover about 30 percent of the world’s land mass (National Geographic)
Forest loss contributes between 6 percent and 12 percent of annual global
carbon dioxide emissions (Nature Geoscience)
About 36 football fields worth of trees lost every minute (World Wildlife Fund (WWF))
There are many causes of deforestation. The WWF reports that half of the trees illegally removed from forests are used as fuel.
Some other common reasons are
To make more land available for housing and urbanization
To harvest timber to create commercial items such as paper, furniture and homes
To create ingredients that are highly prized consumer items, such as the oil from palm trees
To create room for cattle ranching
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