Main Causes of Deforestation

Essay by rickyrey May 2006

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Deforestation is the removal of damage of forest vegetation to the extent that the effected area can no longer support its natural flora and fauna (Thomson, I think that the four main causes of deforestation which interrelate with each other are logging, agriculture, ranching and population growth. There is an argument called the tragedy of the commons theory which will be discussed.

One cause of deforestation is logging. Logging is the practice of cutting down trees, then cutting out their central boles. This is for the demand of wood for fuel, paper and furniture. It is a form of income for third world counties, and provides jobs for people (

Ranching is the up bringing of livestock on open land (

Cattle ranching has been a major cause of deforestation, as people try to feed the American markets' demand for cheap beef ( In ranching, the pastures do not remain productive for long.

The forests have a complex nutrient cycle system which holds most of the ecosystems nutrients in the biomass itself and allows the forest to survive in poor, acidic soil. Once the forest has been cleared, the soil undergoes "nutrient flush." Over time the soil can no longer be maintained in the pasture (Hecht, 1993).

Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and many other desired products ( Both commercial and subsistence farmers have an effect on deforestation. Commercial agriculture however has a twofold effect on deforestation. Agribusiness can directly result in the deforestation by clearing forest land for farming, or indirectly by occupying large tracts of land and displacing other small scale farmers, causing them to clear forests to set up new farms ( The original nutrients in the soil are short lived as is with ranching, causes farmers to move further and further...