About one half of the natural forests that once covered the earth are now gone

About one half of the natural forests that once covered the earth are now gone

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
About one half of the natural forests that once covered the earth are now gone. When one thinks of deforestation, he or she may quickly envision logging of the red woods of the Great Northwest or bulldozers mowing down the lush rainforests of the Amazon basin in Brazil. However, this planet’s loss of natural forests far exceeds those areas that often make the news. Deforestation is the permanent demolition of native forests and woodlands, and it happens everywhere, from the tropics of Costa Rica to the boreal forests of Russia. It is the main reason the earth’s surface has been so adversely modified. The destruction of the earth’s old growth forests has been occurring since ancient times, but many question the ethics surrounding continued clear-cutting, considering the current and projected effects on global climate and biodiversity. The history of deforestation It is commonly thought that deforestation is a new issue that the planet faces. This is not the case, however. Approximately nine-tenths of the earth’s forests were cleared prior to 1950 (Williams, 2001). The story of deforestation is a long one, dating as far back as the first humans on earth. In fact, the impact of early humans may have been one of the major deforestation chapters in history. The felling of trees is part of the human quest for shelter, substance and warmth; land must be cleared for crop growth and for livestock grazing. All societies have a demand for land on which to settle. Along with this comes the need for timber and other products from the forests. The United States’ wave of destruction took place before 1920, primarily in the East. Following 1920 and up to recent years, the Pacific Northwest forests were heavily cleared. However, clear-cutting did not begin to accelerate in the tropics until after 1950.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
According UWC Enviro Facts, by 2001 the earth was losing 12 million hectares annually (Collins, 2001). This incredible number has only increased since. Today, most forests are lost to commercial logging (which supplies the world market with highly sought-after woods such as teak, meranti, mahogany, and ebony), and the conversion of forests to farmland to feed the ever- growing population. The felling of trees for firewood and building material, the development of cash crops, and cattle ranching are also culprits to the growing problem. The Current Effects of Clearing
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/17/2011 for the course CISC 113 taught by Professor Doreencornell during the Spring '10 term at bucks.edu.

Page1 / 6

About one half of the natural forests that once covered the earth are now gone

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online