Deforestation is the practice of clearing the natural forests for the purpose of agriculture, logging etc. It is one of the numerous environmental issues which are threatening the basic existence of several plant and animals species of the world today. Even if you are not sure as to why does deforestation happen, a look at the deforestation statistics is good enough for you to understand how it can trigger a series of domino effects on the lifeforms of the planet.
It’s obvious that humans will bear the brunt of the same in the long term, but the effects of deforestation are bound to be much more prominent on the life forms endemic to the particular region.
Deforestation Statistics Worldwide
The statistics of deforestation reveal that seven countries of the world amount to around 60 percent of the total deforestation on the planet. These seven countries include Brazil in Latin America, Canada and the United States in North America, Indonesia and China in Asia, Russia in Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
The data compiled by the World Resources Institute reveals that the planet has already lost 80 percent of its forest cover to deforestation, and going by the alarming rate at which the trees are being cut, it won’t take much time for that figure to reach the 100 percent mark. The West African region, which boasted of lush green tropical forests in the 19th century, has been stripped of 90 percent of its forest cover over the last century. The same trend of deforestation continues in the two remaining rainforest biomes in South America and Asia respectively.
Going by the statistics compiled by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agriculture is the most important cause of deforestation on the planet. While subsistence farming accounts for 46 percent of the total deforestation in the world, commercial agriculture is responsible for 32 percent. Other prominent causes of deforestation include logging at 14 percent, and fuel requirements at 5 percent.
Amazon Deforestation Statistics
Even though the vast area of Amazon Basin may make it look insignificant, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon is much higher than in any other part of the world. The Amazon rainforest which roughly account for about 2,488,642 square miles, has lost 15 percent of its forest cover since 1970 alone. For instance, Brazil, which is home to approximately one-thirds of the remaining rainforests of the world, has been experiencing an average loss of 21,536 square miles of forest cover annually, over the last few years. This, however, appears to be insignificant as it accounts to only 0.8 percent of the total forest cover of the country.
The rainforest deforestation statistics reveal that 60-70 percent of the deforestation in Amazon can be attributed to cattle ranches, while a significant part of the remaining 30 percent can be attributed to small-scale subsistence agriculture. Recent studies pertaining to the facts about deforestation have revealed that deforestation for the purpose of large scale farming is relatively low.
As far as the deforestation statistics for the United States are concerned, the country has lost 831 square miles of the forest cover between 2001 and 2005. Regeneration of depleted forest cover, new forest plantations, declaring forested areas as reserved etc. are some of the popular deforestation solutions being implemented around the world today. Even though the forest cover raised by these methods is inferior as compared to the primary forest cover, it can still keep the various problems associated with deforestation at bay.
Source: Deforestation Statistics - buzzle.com
Date: 29 June 2010