Deforestation: Destroying are People, Animals, and our Forests
              Deforestation occurs around the world. Tropical rainforests are particularly targeted. Countries with significant deforestation currently or in the recent past include Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other parts of Africa, and parts of Eastern Europe, according to GRID-Adrenal, a United Nations Environment Program collaborating center. Though deforestation has increased rapidly in the last 50 years, it has been practiced throughout history. The Amazon is a highly targeted area of recent deforestation.
          Deforestation is typically done to make more land available for housing and urbanization, timber, large scale cash crops such as soy and palm oil, and cattle ranching. The World Wildlife Fund reports that much of the logging industry that contributes to deforestation is done illegally (about half of it used for firewood).
            Common methods of deforestation are burning trees and clear cutting, which is the controversial practice of complete removal of a given tract of forest. A forestry expert quoted by the Natural Resources Defense Council describes clear cutting as "an ecological trauma that has no precedent in nature except for a major volcanic eruption."
        Burning can be done quickly, in vast swaths of land for plantation use, or more slowly with the slash-and-burn technique. This destructive practice entails cutting down a patch of trees, burning them, and growing crops on the land until the soil becomes too degraded from overgrazing and sun exposure for new growth. Then, the farmers move on to a new patch of land.

            Forests are complex ecosystems that are important to the carbon and water cycles that sustain life on earth. When they are degraded, it can set off a devastating chain of events both locally and around the world.   Seventy percent of the world’s plants and animals live in forests and are losing...