Wildlife: Biodiversity and Net Deforestation Rates

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Around the world, forests are being logged for timber and paper pulp and cleared to grow mono-crops like soy and palm oil while they are deteriorating from the impacts of global warming. Deforestation is a major driver of global warming, responsible for up to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions–more than all the cars, trucks, planes, boats and trains in the world combined. 

Deforestation doesn’t just threaten our climate, it threatens the livelihoods of 1.6 Billion people that rely on forests for food and economic activity. Forests also serve as habitats to rare and undiscovered animal and plant species and play a key role in providing water and preventing flooding and erosion. 

Ending deforestation and protecting forests will not only preserve biodiversity and defend the rights of forest communities, it is also one of the quickest and cost effective ways of curbing global warming.  Greenpeace is campaigning for zero deforestation, globally, by 2020. Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.[1] Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use. About half of the world's original forests had been destroyed by 2011, the majority during the previous 50 years.[citation needed] Since 1990 half of the world's rain forests have been destroyed.[citation needed] More than half of the animal and plant species in the world live in tropical forests.[2] The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area are removed.[not in citation given][neutrality is disputed] However in temperate climates, the removal of all trees in an area[not in citation given]—in conformance with sustainable forestry practices—is correctly described as regeneration harvest.[3] In temperate mesic climates, natural regeneration of forest stands often will not occur in the absence of disturbance, whether natural or anthropogenic.[4] Furthermore, biodiversity after regeneration harvest often mimics that found after natural disturbance, including biodiversity loss after naturally occurring rainforest destruction.[5][6] Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation has also been used in war to deprive an enemy of cover for its forces and also vital resources. A modern example of this was the use of Agent Orangeby the United States military in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland. Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. In many countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced, is an ongoing issue. Deforestation causes extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and displacement of populations as observed by current conditions and in the past through the fossil record.[5] Among countries with a per capita GDP of at least US$4,600, net deforestation rates have ceased to increase.[when?][7][8] -------------------------------------------------

Causes
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel wood removals make up...
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