Slash and Burn Agriculture
One of the culprits is slash and burn agriculture. What usually happens is that a farmer decides to plant crops and raise livestock. The trees are cut to size and subsequently burned. No new trees are planted and instead crops and animals are raised there.
In poor countries, the problems are compounded. The lack of modern tools and utilities make farming difficult. When the denuded land is no longer able to provide quality fruits and vegetables, the farmer moves on to the next rainforest. That is why deforestation happens on such a large scale. After one denuded land has been rendered useless, the other ones become the next targets.
Developing Real Estate and Resorts
As more and more people move to the suburbs, the demand for living space increases. Developers looking to make a profit will mow down these areas. Everyday thousands of acres of rainforest are destroyed to make way for buildings, condominiums and hotel resorts.
Unlike the farmer, these companies use heavy equipment. With bulldozers, tractors and the like, they are able to decimate rainforests quickly. One reason why deforestation happens widely is that companies are fighting for profit. The result is a race to destroy rainforests and construct houses.
In some countries, selective logging is employed. This means only certain tree species may be cut down. In some areas however, logging takes place everywhere. People do this because the business is very profitable. Demand for wood furniture and ornaments are still high. Even though selective logging is allowed, illegal logging is more profitable.
The reason it’s so rampant is due to corruption. Some agencies assigned to protect rainforests are bribed. Even though there are volunteers, there are just not enough personnel to supervise all these areas. Couple that with corruption and it’s easy to see why deforestation happens all the time.
More difficulties are encountered at the political level. This doesn’t necessarily boil down to corruption all the time. Sometimes they are forced to do it. If a country is in debt they might strike a deal with a logging company. In exchange for logging rights the company will employ locals. This will generate employment and boost the economy. As money flows, the government can use it to pay debts.
Governments also know that farmers need to use the land to provide for their families. Thus, some are reluctant to stop them from engaging in illegal logging or slash and burn tactics.
The first is the destruction of various animals. When forests are razed, the lives of thousands of animals are destroyed. Trees can soak up water. Without them, flooding becomes more frequent.
The first step to stopping this is knowing why deforestation happens. Armed with the right information you can take your own steps to prevent it from occurring in your area.