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Deforestation

Historical Deforestation, Deforestation Today, Loss Of A Renewable Resource, Deforestation And Biodiversity, Deforestation And The Greenhouse Effect

Deforestation refers to a longer-term conversion of forest to some other kind of ecosystem, such as agricultural or urbanized land. Sometimes, however, the term is used in reference to any situation in which forests are disturbed, for example by clear-cut harvesting, even if another forest subsequently regenerates on the site. Various human activities result in net losses of forest area and therefore contribute to deforestation. The most important causes of deforestation are the creation of new agricultural land and unsustainable harvesting of trees. In recent decades, deforestation has been proceeding most rapidly in underdeveloped countries of the tropics and subtropics.

The most important ecological consequences of deforestation are: the depletion of the economically important forest resource; losses of biodiversity through the clearing of tropical forests; and emissions of carbon dioxide with potential effects on global climate through an enhancement of Earth's greenhouse effect. In some cases, indigenous cultures living in the original forest may be displaced by the destruction of their habitat.


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