Campus Sustainability Office

Deforestation

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Deforestation has reshaped much of the world over the course of human history. Although forestry management is practiced with varying degrees of effectiveness, deforestation still occurs across the globe. The hot spots for deforestation in the world today are centered in the tropics and are largely tied to a few drivers including agriculture and logging for lumber production. The underlying reasons relate to population growth and geopolitics. 

Amazon_deforestation.jpg

(Image of Borneo rainforest deforestation  (right) via Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal "Extent of deforestation in Borneo 1950-2005, and projection towards 2020".)

Deforestation rates are highest in the tropics where biodiversity is also highest but most threatened and therefore precious. Deforestation destroys or fragments habitat, restricts mating behaviors (and therefore genetic diversity and species' resilience), eliminates food sources, and puts already vulnerable species in conflict with human priorities. Also, ecosystem services (such as erosion & flood control, carbon sequestration, water purification & cycling) provided by these forests are negatively impacted.

The poor management of forests around the world cannot be sustained indefinitely. We must improve education on the subject and reevaluate our consumptive habits in order to stop deforestation and species loss.

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