Agricultural Expansion

One of the major cause of deforestation
is the conversion of forest into agricultural activities. Due to over
increasing demand for commodities, such as soybeans and palm oil, huge amount
of trees are being cleared to grow such crops. For example, palm oil which is
an ingredient that are highly prized consumed from food to cosmetics and even
heralded as a biofuel. So, oil palm growers had cleared massive swaths of
natural forests to make room for oil palm plantation. According to the World
Watch Institute, Malaysia which is the world’s largest producer of palm oil
until 2006 has led deforestation to skyrocket due to rapid expansion of oil
palm plantation.

 

Logging

Logging involves legal and illegal
logging which occur around the world. Illegal logging includes harvesting timber,
transporting, purchasing or selling of timbers in violation of law.

Especially wood based industry has a
higher demand for timbers for making their commercial items such as match
sticks, papers and furniture. Also, wood is being used for fuel. Therefore,
some of the industries will thrive on illegal wood cutting to meet the demands.
It was reported that half of the forest trees were illegally removed for fuel.

 

Livestock Ranching

Another driving force behind this
deforestation is livestock ranching. Cattle ranching is common in every Amazon
country, amounting to 80% of current deforestation rates. There are estimate
200 million head of cattle ranching in Amazon Brazil, one of the largest cattle
exporter in the world. Because of the low investment in which grass is already
growing, easy transportation and high returns, ranching has become an appealing
economic operation in the forest frontier. Farmer, nowadays, uses slash and
burn techniques to clear land in order to provide pasture for livestock.

 

Mining

Important resources such as gold,
copper, diamonds and other precious metal are found in the rainforest in the
world. As such, private mining sector and governments start to mine, resulting
in deforestation. This is because, in order to mine, trees and vegetation are
to be cleared and burned. With the ground completely bare, then can metals and
minerals be extracted from the soil. Often, this projects is accompanied by
large infrastructure construction, such as road, railways and power systems
which further contribute to deforestation. Mining happens in many places around
the world and is very active in Amazonia region, Guyana, Suriname and other
South American countries. Even Indonesia and other S.E.Asian countries are
heavily involve in mining.

 

Urbanization

Due to overpopulation, there is a rapid increase in global needs
leading to expansion of cities. As a result, forest land again has to be
cleared to establish more settlements and housings. Apart from it, countless of
trees are chopped to construct roads and highways so as to make way for
urbanization. The road expansion usually leads to logging and illegal logging which
further lead to deforestation.

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