Deforestation is the logging and/or burning of trees in a
forested area. There are several reasons for doing so:
trees or derived charcoal can be sold as a commodity
and used by humans, while cleared land is used as pas-
ture, plantations of commodities and human settlement.
The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has
resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and arid-
ity. Deforested regions often degrade into wasteland.
Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of
ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient en-
vironmental law are some of the factors that allow de-
forestation to occur on a large scale. In many countries,
deforestation is an ongoing issue that is causing extinc-
tion, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and
displacement of indigenous people.
However, among countries with a per capita GDP of
at least $4,600, net deforestation rates have ceased to in-
Causes of anthropogenic
There are many root causes of deforestation, including
corruption of government institutions, the inequit-
able distribution of wealth and power, population
growth and overpopulation, and urbanization.
Globalization is often viewed as another root cause of
deforestation, though there are cases in which the
impacts of globalization (new flows of labor, capital,
commodities, and ideas) have promoted localized forest
In 2000 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Or-
ganization (FAO) found that "the role of population dy-
namics in a local setting may vary from decisive to negli-
gible," and that deforestation can result from "a combin-
ation of population pressure and stagnating economic,
social and technological conditions."
According to British environmentalist Norman My-
ers, 5% of deforestation is due to cattle ranching, 19%
due to over-heavy logging, 22% due to the growing sec-
tor of palm oil plantations, and 54% due to slash-and-
The degradation of forest ecosystems ha