Essay by sam90 April 2006

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Eight thousand years ago, when humans didn't have an astounding affect on the world ecosystem, trees covered two fifths of the land. Since that time, the human race has burnt and chopped down half of the original forestland. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, deforestation is defined as the action or process of clearing of forests... ( The act of deforestation could, in a matter of just a few decades, completely strip the earth of trees. Deforestation not only has a phenomenal effect on the ecological balance of the world, but its economic stability as well. Tropical rainforests are disappearing faster than ever before. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that in 1980, the rainforests were disappearing at a rate of 114,000 square kilometers each year (Colchester and Lohmann, 1). More recent studies have shown a sharp increase in that number. According to a study completed by Friends for Earth, some 142,000 square kilometers of tropical rainforests were destroyed in 1989, and a further 200,000 square kilometers seriously degraded (Colchester and Lohmann, 1,2).

The Amazon Rain Forest is among the leading places ravaged by deforestation. The first estimates of the damage done in the Amazon were made around 1970, suggesting that little clearing of forest had taken place (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 7). By 1980, it is estimated that over 125,000 square kilometers of forest had been cleared (UNRISD, 8). The most recent deforestation measurements by the INPE (Space Research Institute of Brazil) show that by 1988, some 251,429 square kilometers... had been deforested (UNRISD, 8). According to an article published in The Economist in April 2000, an official survey listed the damage of 500,000 hectares (1.24 million acres) were deforested between 1990 and 1995. A new study, the article proclaimed, suggested that 1.7 million hectares...