Unformatted text preview: 2004). Unfortunately, because trees grow slowly, it is easy to
harvest them faster than they replenish.
The consequences of deforestation include loss of timber & other forest building materials, soil erosion,
loss of soil fertility, sediment loads in rivers, loss of watershed protection and hence of potential hydroelectric
power, and decreased rainfall (Diamond, 2005). Deforestation is the leading cause of desertification globally,
and it is also a leading cause of global warming. Particularly troublesome is slash and burn farming, where
trees are simply chopped down and burned, a complete waste of a valuable resource. Trees store CO2, as shown
by the photosynthesis reaction. Deforestation eliminates this sink for atmospheric CO2, and burning the wood
also releases the CO2 stored in the tree, making slash and burn farming a double whammy for climate change.
Most deforestation today occurs in tropical forests, and current harvesting rates could result in unprotected
tropical forests disappearing as early as 2054 (Meadows, Randers et al. 2004)....
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- Fall '14
- John C. Ayers