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Why are Forests Dying?

Environment | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Why are Forests important?

Forests cover almost a third of world’s land surface. Many of them are so vast that the only way to map and study them is from space. Forests are not only valuable sources of wood and fuel, but they are also home to many types of plants and animals.

Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years. Small scale deforestation was practiced by some societies for tens of thousands of years before the beginnings of civilization.

Effects of Deforestation

Massive deforestation brings with it many ugly consequences – air and water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemics, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the loss of biodiversity through extinction of plants and animals. Fewer rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breathe, and an increased threat from global warming.

Why are Rainforests being destroyed?

Humans are the main cause of rainforest destruction. Some of the reasons we are cutting down forests are:

a. Wood for both timber and making fires
b. Agriculture for both small and large farms
c. Land for poor farmers who don’t have anywhere else to live
d. Grazing land for cattle
e. Pulp for making paper
f. Road construction
g. Extraction of minerals and energy.

Developing countries also have a massive effect on deforestation as there is a huge need for raw materials which come from the forests. As the population swells, new homes need to be built. For that to happen, space is required, and that is when, more and more trees are cut.


  1. As a project, why not go out and plant a tree? Make sure that you water it and watch it grow?
  2. Not using a plastic bag helps in a great way, when it comes to saving the forests. Stop using plastic bags and use a cloth bag instead.
  3. See if you can find out the names of a few animals that are now extinct because of deforestation.