Thursday, 7 January 2016

Deforestation: Overview

Photograph by Tomas Munita/AP Photos
Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land.

Forests cover 30% of the land area on our planet. They produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife. Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion people rely on benefits forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter.

But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation, jeopardizing these benefits. Deforestation comes in many forms, including fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching and development, unsustainable logging for timber, and degradation due to climate change. This impacts people’s livelihoods and threatens a wide range of plant and animal species. Some 100-150 thousand square kilometers of forest are lost each year—equivalent to 48 football fields every minute.

Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns. Deforestation undermines this important carbon sink function. It is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.

Deforestation is a particular concern in tropical rainforests because these forests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity. In Nigeria, the rate of deforestation is estimated to have increased from 2.7 percent for 1990-2000 to 4.0 percent for 2005-2010 epoch (FAO 2010).

Source: World Wild Life

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