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The Big Chop – Causes and Effects of Deforestation

By Kamille John


We all cherish having a place to call home, somewhere we can lay our heads down and feel safe. Sadly, many plants and animals cannot enjoy that same feeling, as forests, which cover around 30% of the world’s land area, are being cleared away due to deforestation and logging. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, deforestation is “the cutting down of trees in a large area or the destruction of forests by people.” At the same time, logging is “the activity of cutting down trees to use their wood.” The phrase that stands out here is the destruction of forests by people.


Beyond the human, benefits obtained from the forests, such as paper, construction and furniture material, and energy, forests are also home to 80% of the world’s plants, animals, and microorganisms, provide the world with oxygen and account for 75% of freshwater resources worldwide (Chris Simeons). However, as human beings, we have been reckless and irresponsible with the part of nature that has given so much to us. “The most common pressures causing deforestation and severe forest degradation are agriculture, unsustainable forest management, mining, infrastructure projects, and increased fire incidence and intensity.” (World Wildlife Fund) This had adverse effects which ripple not only through the animal kingdom but also to humans. It has driven some species like jaguars and black spider monkeys to the brink of extinction threatened the way of life of indigenous people, affected soil quality through erosion, and contributed significantly to climate change by increasing greenhouse gases.


The outlook is bleak, but there is still time to do what we can to change that trajectory. In addition to steps like planting more trees, reducing the amount of paper we use, recycling, and reducing our use of palm oil, we can partner with conservation organizations close to us.



  • Forests are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
  • Forests provide 75% of freshwater resources to the world.
  • Deforestation and logging have driven some species to the brink of extinction, threatened the way of life of indigenous people, affected soil quality, and contributed to climate change.
  • We can combat the effects of deforestation by reducing our paper and palm oil usage and doing more recycling.
  • We can also combat the effects of deforestation by partnering with various conservation organizations close to us.



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Dean, A., (2019). Deforestation and the Carbon Cycle. Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/deforestation/

Economic Social and Research Institute (n.d.) Deforestation and Endangered Animals. Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=279f3e9ab5e04bed813700ed6e7d9fb8

Nunez, C., Climate 101: Deforestation. Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/deforestation

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Simeons, C., (2018). 12 Reasons Why Forests Are Important. Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://www.glo-be.be/index.php/en/articles/12-reasons-why-forests-are-important

The World Bank (n.d.) Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.FRST.ZS

World Wildlife Federation (n.d.) Deforestation Causes. Retrieved 22.04.2021 from https://wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/forests_practice/deforestation_causes2/