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.
(Image of Amazonian rainforest with roads and deforested sections creating fragmented landscape (right) via NASA in public domain)
Deforestation, especially in the tropics, destroys habitats and puts pressure on biodiversity. Also, ecosystem services provided by these forests are negatively impacted such as water purification, carbon sequestration, water cycling, and sources of foods and medicines are lost as well.
Deforestation not only effects the forest cover that was once existing in an area now devoid of habitat and most life, it affects the surrounding ecosystems and habitat by creating habitat fragmentation. Fragmentation often leads to the susceptibility of whole populations and biodiversity loss by creating cut-off populations, whereby small changes can lead to extinction or extirpation as resiliency is lowered in these situations.
The poor management of forests around the world cannot be sustained indefinitely and we should look at how we can improve our education on the subject, our consumption habits, and uses of wood, in order to stop deforestation.
(CC Image courtesy of crustmania on Flickr)