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Deforestation and other casualties

Defining “Deforestation”

As the title suggests, deforestation implies the process of cutting down trees from the land in order to utilize it for commercial use and exploiting the resources and minerals coming with it. Forests disappear naturally as a result of climate change, fire, hurricanes, or other disturbances; however, most deforestation has been anthropogenic. Although improperly applied logging, fuel wood collection, fire management, and grazing can lead to unintentional deforestation, most anthropogenic deforestation is deliberate. Many developing economies are converting forests and other natural habitat mainly into agriculture. Shifting cultivation is practiced over large areas of land worldwide, raising concern about the efficacy of its practice (Ann, Zailani & Wahid, 2006).

Deforestation has an effect on the following: global warming (greenhouse effect), soil erosion, species diversity. Discuss what is meant by these terms and explain the effects of deforestation on each. Logging, infrastructure, and settlement expansion, and to a minor degree mining, are other important direct drivers. Logging may be a direct source of deforestation or an indirect source resulting from logging roads enabling access for farmers into previously unreachable areas of forest to establish agricultural plots and pasture.

As for whether poverty is an important driver, there is no consensus. One argument is that poor people are more likely to clear forest because of the lack of other economic alternatives; the counterargument states that the poor lack financial ability to clear the forest. The claim that population growth drives deforestation is another disputed topic. Helmut Geist and Eric Lambin showed that population increase caused by high fertility rates is a primary driver of deforestation in only 8 percent of cases. The Food and Agriculture Organization states that global deforestation rates are not directly related to the human population growth rate but, rather, are an indicator of the lack of technological advancement and inefficient governance. Corruption, inequitable distribution of wealth and power, and globalization are also drivers of deforestation.

Obtaining precise figures for deforestation rates has proven difficult. Food and Agriculture Organization data are based largely on numbers provided by forestry departments of individual countries and can therefore be biased. Frédéric Achard and colleagues estimated deforestation based on satellite imagery that exhibits rates of deforestation in the tropics 23 percent lower than the most commonly quoted rates, and for the tropics as a whole, deforestation rates could be in error by as much as ±50 percent (Argyris, 1998).

Road building, therefore, is a prerequisite to frontier deforestation, pointing toward corporate and state policies, which promote access to certain regions for economic or geopolitical motives. These rural frontier environments are characterized by their remoteness, abundant but often insecure resource access, and scarcity of labor. This farming technique often leads to the depletion of soil nutrients from the thin, oxidized tropical soils in 2 to 4 years' time, leading to farm abandonment on completion of a swidden farming cycle, followed by the consolidation of lands in the hand of rural elites, who often convert the land to cattle ...
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