The causes of deforestation

Deforestation causes can either be direct or indirect.
Among direct causes are:

  • Natural causes as hurricanes, fires, parasites and floods
  • Human activities as agricultural expansion, cattle breeding, timber extraction, mining, oil extraction, dam construction and infrastructure development.

Among indirect causes are:

  • Insufficient political actions and governance failure as inadequate land tenure system, corruption, wrong public administration investments
  • Political and socio-economic causes as population growth, military conflicts and climatic changes

The main causes of deforestation can actually be lead back especially to:

  • substitution of forest areas with cultivations and breeding
  • timber extraction
  • firewood collection
  • road and infrastrucutre construction

Cultivations and livestock farming
We should consider, infact, that with regards to the substitution of forest areas with cultivations and livestock farms, the impact is much higher because after the extraction of the most precious trees which are destined for timber commercialization, forests are set on fire causing a great impact on local animals and plants. The most disastrous year for the Amazon forest has been 1991 when over 50,000 fires where registered by aerial views or satellite images.
Timber extraction
Centuries-old trees are cut down to make timber or cellulose for the furniture or paper industry. Any system employed for wood cutting causes serious damage to the ecosystem, and these damages are amplified by construction of roads required for vehicles and to trasport chopped timber to its destination. For this reason, also many other economically unattractive trees which have an important biological and ecological value are are cut down.
Firewood collection
This activity is undertaken especially by native populations, which due to recent population growth, must provide energy sources for their survival. This phenomenon adds to large-scale industrial timber exploitation.
Road Construction
Besides the construction of roads to transport timber, also dam construction and industrial exploitation of mines contribute to massive deforestation

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Facts