We are faced with a problem. Every minute, an area of forest equal to twenty football fields is cut down--demolished. It is happening in many areas of our world. It has devastating consequences not only for the people who depend on the wood for building and heating their homes, but on the animals who live there. The trees provide homes and protection to thousands of animals, insects, and amphibians that live under the shade of these trees. The loss of forests has endangered many animals, even wiping some out to the point of extinction. This is a dangerous situation.
Why is deforestation happening? For the most part trees are cut down to make room for cattle ranching and other types of farming. This is occurring most often in places like Africa where there is a lack of food. And of course, a great deal of wood is used for lumber for building our houses or heating our homes.
Trees play an important role in keeping our air replenished with oxygen. They take the carbon dioxide that we breathe out and then turn it into oxygen. They also help to “scrub” pollutants from the air. When forests are cut down soil erosion occurs and prevents rain water from being absorbed back into the soil. So what can we do? Well, we need to reforest the earth. Some people are already doing that, like the “Tree Lady”, Professor Wangari Maathai and her Green Belt organization and groups like Conservation International. If we replant trees, it helps to replace the forests that have been lost. Other things we can do to prevent further deforestation are: buying recycled paper products (and then recycling them again!), reading the newspaper on the Internet, buying furniture and building materials that use certified/renewable wood and joining tree planting projects. There are many other things that we can do. Let’s get out there and find them!!!
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Algee, Lisa. “What is Deforestation?”. Kids.Mongabay.Com. Accessed 29 February 2008. <http://kids.mongabay.com/lesson_plans/lisa_algee/deforestation.html>
WRM Briefings: “The direct and underlying causes of forest loss.” World Rainforest Movement. Accessed 29 February 2008. <http://www.wrm.org.uy/publications/briefings/underlying.html>
Stock, Jocelyn, and Andy Rochen. “The Choice: Doomsday or Arbor Day”. Accessed 29 February 2008. <http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/deforestation.htm>
Crustmania. “Deforestation”. Flickr.com. Accessed 29 February 2008. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/crustmania/233523196/>
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