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Modern examples of this were the use of Agent Orange by the British military in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency and by the United States military in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.As of 2005, net deforestation rates had ceased to increase in countries with a per capita GDP of at least US,600.Both the decay and the burning of wood release much of this stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
Every minute an estimated 26 hectares of forest is lost – that’s an area equivalent to 37 football pitches - and it is not difficult to see that if this continues we will be left with a planet devoid of woodland.
This would be catastrophic: not only are forests home to some of the most important species on earth, but they also play a vital role in regulating the climate and making the planet habitable.
In the past, indigenous peoples have farmed the rain forests, felling trees to allow cultivation of crops and grazing space for animals, and moving on when the soil becomes less fertile.
This is no threat to the forests, provided that it is carried out sustainably, and used areas are left to regenerate for long periods before repeating the process.
It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Deforestation has also been used in war to deprive the enemy of vital resources and cover for its forces.Coupled with the extremely lucrative international timber trade in recent years, this has brought about an unparalleled degradation of the rain forests.The two most commonly cited causes of deforestation are shifting cultivation and commercial logging.According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture.Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%; logging is responsible for 14%, and fuel wood removals make up 5%.The Problem of Deforestation The world’s forests are in grave danger.Over half of the original forest cover has been destroyed, and things are set to deteriorate unless the current alarming rate of deforestation is checked.Whereas deforestation was primarily driven by subsistence activities and government-sponsored development projects like transmigration in countries like Indonesia and colonization in Latin America, India, Java, and so on, during the late 19th century and the earlier half of the 20th century, by the 1990s the majority of deforestation was caused by industrial factors, including extractive industries, large-scale cattle ranching, and extensive agriculture.Since 2001, commodity-driven deforestation, which is more likely to be permanent, has accounted for about a quarter of all forest disturbance, and this loss has been concentrated in South America and Southeast Asia.Problems arise when the land is not allowed sufficient time to recover, and intensive farming results in irreversible soil degradation.This is the present situation, due to the needs of the growing population - and some sources identify shifting cultivation as the cause of 70 per cent of the deforestation in Africa.