Deforestation is one of the most
infamous human-generated environmental disasters. But in case
you need reminding: Deforestation means the chopping-down of thousands
of trees - the clearing of natural, ancient forests.
Deforestation can cause soil erosion
which results in the loss of moist fertile top soil. Hundreds
of square miles of ancient forests are destroyed daily, and along
with it rare plant species and animals.
All life on earth needs forests
to be able to literally breath. They generate a proportion of
the world's oxygen along with the ocean. In fact, although ocean
plants generate more oxygen than trees - there is a direct relationship
between forest depletion and ocean stability.
Natural forests hold numerous micro-environments.
Rain forests, such as the Amazon in Brazil, are home to some of
earth's most precious natural resources such as millions of unique
plant species. Understanding the biological make-up of these plants
could help cure many diseases. Natural forests also play host
to the world's largest diversity of animal and insect life. Hundreds,
if not thousands of these are becoming extinct yearly as more
forest is destroyed.
Causes of deforestation include
farming, logging, cattle ranching, soy bean plantation and palm
oil plantation - (mostly illegal). The most notable areas of massive
deforestation are Brazil, Indonesia and West Central Africa.
Ordinary food shoppers around the
world are unwittingly causing the extinction of rain forest species
such as the much-loved Orangutan.
One in ten of supermarket products contain palm oil; from foods
like bread, crisps and chocolate to cosmetics, soaps, shampoos
Most mass-produced palm oil is responsible for the accelerated
destruction of precious rain forests in Malaysia and Indonesia.
These ancient forests are home to the Orang-utan and around 5,000
are being driven from their habitats in Borneo and Sumatra each
year as loggers clear them to make way for palm oil plantations.
Urangutans and other animals wander dazed and confused across
the tree flattened areas, while plantation workers attack the
frightened apes with machetes or even burn them alive.
Hundreds of orphaned babies are also left alone to die, and at
the current rate of destruction, it's expected that orangutans
could be extinct in ten years.
Humans continue to over-harvest
the planets flora, cutting down more trees faster than new ones
can grow. Trees are being felled ten times faster than they are
being replaced by new growth.
Areas the size of European countries
are being destroyed by Brazil each year. At the current rate of
deforestation, this planet will be void of any bio-diversive,
self sustainable natural forests and natural habitats in less
than 20 years.
Destroying the natural cross-dependency between flora and fauna
on such a scale means this man-made catastrophe is now beginning
to effect all life on earth ... with irreversible consequences.