10 Scary Deforestation Facts We Should All Be Concerned About

By

What is deforestation? Unless you’re an ecologist, you probably don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the fate of the world’s forests, but you probably also don’t realize just how fast the forests on Earth are disappearing.

bolivia deforestation

Satellite images of deforestation in Eastern Bolivia (Photo credit: NASA)

The rate at which trees are being felled for agriculture, manufacturing, and other reasons is quite astounding. The effects of deforestation are massive, adversely impacting biodiversity, the climate, and human life. Here are some facts about deforestation that should make you think twice before you decide to print something out you don’t need to or sign up for a physical newspaper.

1. Each year, forests as large as Panama are lost.
This statistic comes from National Geographic Magazine. According to National Geographic, forests still cover 30% of the land on earth. But each and every year, human activity costs us 29,157 square miles of forest (that’s the area of the country of Panama). If you do the math, at the current rate, it will take less than 700 years for all the forests in all the world to be totally destroyed.

2. In 100 years, there could be no more rainforests.
That number above, 700 years, was a total for the destruction of all forests on the planet, regardless of climate or type. But rainforest comprise a minority of the forests on Earth, and it could take as little as a century for these precious ecosystems to be destroyed.

Rainforest deforestation is a serious concern for the preservation of many species on earth since rainforests are among the most biodiverse ecologies in the world.

3. We’re losing an area of forest as large as 20 football fields every minute.

In the time it took you to read to this point, over 20 football fields (seen above) worth of forests have been wiped out. By the time you finish reading this article, an area of forests 100x greater than the football field shown above will have been destroyed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the time it took you to read to this point, over 20 football fields (seen above) worth of forests have been wiped out. By the time you finish reading this article, an area of forests 100x greater than the football field shown above will have been destroyed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Just think how much forest will have been cut down in the time it takes you to read this article. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it? Think about how many plants and animals live in area comprising the size of 20 football fields packed together. All those animals and plants are either killed or displaced by the deforestation.

4. Agriculture is the main cause of deforestation.

riiau deforestation 2006

Devastating deforestation for an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia


While industrial deforestation is a problem (paper production for example), the main cause of deforestation is agriculture. This includes the clearing of large swaths of land as well as small areas (slash and burn agriculture). Agriculture can also cause infertility in the land, preventing the growth of new forests as a result of overgrazing.

5. Deforestation is speeding up global warming.
Global warming is fueled by greenhouse gasses, which are absorbed by trees. As such, our forests help to regulate our climate and stabilize it, despite the pollutants we spread through the air. The more forests we lose, the less of a buffer we have, and the greater the impact of those unabsorbed greenhouse gasses.

6. Deforestation is often accomplished through burning.

slash and burn agriculture

Illegal “slash and burn” deforestation in Madagascar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


According to the EPA, one of the main causes of air pollution for the entire planet is fires. Deforestation isn’t always achieved with axes and other cutting machinery. Forests are regularly burned down, which contaminates the atmosphere with nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and other toxic pollutants.

7. You can’t replant an ecology.
While there are new tree plantations, there are a couple of reasons we cannot rely 100% on them to replace our forests. Firstly, we don’t have nearly enough of them. Secondly, they are simply plantations of trees. Trees, by themselves, do not comprise a forest, which is a complex ecology full of interactions by numerous plants and animals, each with their own unique biological niches and contributions. You can’t plant a fresh ecology out of a seed bag.

8. More than half of the timber and paper in the world are used up by just 22% of the population.
This fact is according to the Rainforest Action Network, a nonprofit group. Most of the people who are using up the resources are living in the United States, Europe and Japan. While the U.S. only contains about 5% of the total population in the world, it consumes a third of the paper on the planet.

9. Up to 28,000 species may go extinct due to deforestation in the next quarter century.
There is a lot of confusion and disinformation regarding the rate of extinction caused by deforestation, simply because it is so hard to actually accurately estimate. Many species are still undiscovered. It is a known fact however that rainforests contain the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. The statistic above is an extrapolation by researcher W.V. Reid at Columbia University based on current measurable statistics. Without a biodiverse world, life will be unable to thrive. Interdependency is a basic fact of life on earth. Diversity leads to unique adaptations and evolution, and also allows organisms to rely on each other to survive.

10. Without trees, human life would not survive.

Sand dunes in Rub' al Khali

Arabian desert


Because of the amount of carbon contained inside the trees on earth, the earth is able to maintain a stable atmospheric composition and climate. Right now, only half of the forests on earth have been destroyed, and already the rate of climate change has accelerated. If the rest of the trees are destroyed, there will be nothing holding back that carbon, and the Earth will become uninhabitable. This is perhaps the most sobering of all deforestation facts.

What Can You Do?Most deforestation is agricultural, and it’s hard to do much about that (unless you’re a farmer). One thing you can do is to purchase your produce from farmers who engage in sustainable agricultural practices. You can also cut back on your usage of paper products – get rid of your paper newspaper and use the internet for your news each day. Start buying eBooks.

You can also take a stand politically on issues of deforestation, and demand higher levels of regulation from your national government. In some countries, serious efforts are taken toward preservation. Did you know three quarters of Costa Rica is protected land? Ask your government to create more parks and preserves, give to nonprofits who support your cause, and share your enthusiasm for nature with others in your life.

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  • jeff

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  • I Hate Trees

    Trees Suck

    • I Love Trees

      Fight me

    • Dyanne Smart

      This reply is not intended for “I Love Trees” but for all the inane comments I read after reading the article. Deforestation is not a joke. How can people be so obtuse?

      • kill all humans

        i mean this 100%:all human must die right now

  • Shaylan

    I’m doing a mini TED talk for class ,and this helped a lot.

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  • Steffi

    That’s a sharp way of thiinkng about it.

  • deez

    if you are what you eat im human

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  • deez

    this helped alot

  • oli fletcher

    how can you say there’s not much we can do about agricultural damage?!!?!?

    the answer is simple, you just don’t want to hear it!

    STOP EATING MEAT – or at least so much of it…

    Its all room for animals, and the food/resources taken into raising those animals, feeding them properly, miles and miles of soy bean fields to feed but a few cows…

    Now don’t get me wrong I love meat as much as the next guy, but for fuck sake it doesn’t take a genius to work out how to help, just eat less, one meal a week or something, something SUSTAINABLE. There are so many other options, meat free chicken nuggets are amazing.. Quorn also contains more protein on average than most meats.

    The meat industry alone causes more C02 damage than all the planes, cars and trains in the ENTIRE WORLD COMBINED…

    Don’t tell me the solution is taking a stand against anyone. there is no them, there is only us. The world is what we as individuals choose to make of it, no one controls us into eating, printing or any of the environmental damage we cause. They are all stand alone individual decisions, take responsibility.

    • muumuu

      IN The END WE ARE ALL DOOMED IN THIS ENVIRONMENT

      • BigFort55

        I very much agree with that statement. In fact in 100 years ill fell bad for my grand children.

        • Achicken Hoyland

          Learn how to spell

          • Gayle

            Learn how to get a name

    • Micheal

      Thank you this amazing information. I’m writing an essay on deforestation. Thank you once again.

    • Mik

      Yep and that is going to be very harmful to animals.

  • 2my ah shah dude 3tf

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    • 2my ah shah dude 3tf

      up to g
      if you smoke trees there’ll be no trees so no more bees no air for cows no cheese take off your pants and give me a geese

  • 2my ah shah dude 3tf

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  • banana

    thanks for the information I could use it

    • james

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      • avery

        your a idiot

        • Jimmy

          Apparently you’re also an idiot. I think what you meant to say to James was “You’re an idiot.” 🙂

        • Fuckkkjerry

          You’re

  • colin

    thx for the info I’m doing an essay and I can use the help

    • nate

      I’m doing a essay too this is so hard.

  • THE REALIST

    can you guys not like, cuss every sentence you talk and grow up, if you want to breathe than you need trees, but deforestation is a real threat. god you guys are like 3 years old the way you talk.

    • Grant

      Can’t anybody actually talk about this subject and not about something random

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        • Jean

          At last, soeonme comes up with the “right” answer!

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    a crack up ranga is a good one

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  • sadath

    hi jesca

  • anynymos

    thanks
    helped with my report

    • Random Person

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    • holy doodles

      hahahahhahaha, this is kinda helpful for my tution speech due 2morow

    • holy doodles

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        I bow down humbly in the presence of such grasntese.

  • shahid

    poo

  • shahid

    this site was a great help to me as i have a project on how to save the envornment
    Reply

    brendan

    April 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm
    dang me too
    Reply

    Kimmie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm
    It was only a little bit helpful to me too.
    Reply

    Frank

    May 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm
    Hola! Mi nombre es Frank y yo estoy en los EE.UU. en el quinto grado de hacer un proyecto de investigación sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación occuring allí. Parte de mi proyecto es entrevistar a una persona que está relacionada con el tema, y desde que he leído su papel Newswire decidí hacerle una entrevista sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación allí. También tengo un par de preguntas para hacerle a usted y yo estaría muy agradecido si usted les contestó.
    # 1 ¿Hay un papel específico que juega en la transmisión del mensaje del factor limitante de la deforestación en el Amazonas?
    # 2 ¿Qué te motiva a querer proteger el medio ambiente como el Amazonas?
    # 3 ¿Hay alguna información específica que ayude a describir sobre el Amazonas y lo que está sucediendo allí?
    Gracias.
    Reply

    jessica

    May 12, 2014 at 12:13 am
    Number 10 is obvious, it doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t live without trees. This site is CRAP >:(
    Reply

    enrique lopez

    June 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    no help at all
    Reply

    Inocencia

    October 13, 2014 at 11:22 pm
    This site sucks :-(this site was a great help to me as i have a project on how to save the envornment
    Reply

    brendan

    April 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm
    dang me too
    Reply

    Kimmie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm
    It was only a little bit helpful to me too.
    Reply

    Frank

    May 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm
    Hola! Mi nombre es Frank y yo estoy en los EE.UU. en el quinto grado de hacer un proyecto de investigación sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación occuring allí. Parte de mi proyecto es entrevistar a una persona que está relacionada con el tema, y desde que he leído su papel Newswire decidí hacerle una entrevista sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación allí. También tengo un par de preguntas para hacerle a usted y yo estaría muy agradecido si usted les contestó.
    # 1 ¿Hay un papel específico que juega en la transmisión del mensaje del factor limitante de la deforestación en el Amazonas?
    # 2 ¿Qué te motiva a querer proteger el medio ambiente como el Amazonas?
    # 3 ¿Hay alguna información específica que ayude a describir sobre el Amazonas y lo que está sucediendo allí?
    Gracias.
    Reply

    jessica

    May 12, 2014 at 12:13 am
    Number 10 is obvious, it doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t live without trees. This site is CRAP >:(
    Reply

    enrique lopez

    June 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    no help at all
    Reply

    Inocencia

    October 13, 2014 at 11:22 pm
    This site sucks :-(this site was a great help to me as i have a project on how to save the envornment
    Reply

    brendan

    April 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm
    dang me too
    Reply

    Kimmie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm
    It was only a little bit helpful to me too.
    Reply

    Frank

    May 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm
    Hola! Mi nombre es Frank y yo estoy en los EE.UU. en el quinto grado de hacer un proyecto de investigación sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación occuring allí. Parte de mi proyecto es entrevistar a una persona que está relacionada con el tema, y desde que he leído su papel Newswire decidí hacerle una entrevista sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación allí. También tengo un par de preguntas para hacerle a usted y yo estaría muy agradecido si usted les contestó.
    # 1 ¿Hay un papel específico que juega en la transmisión del mensaje del factor limitante de la deforestación en el Amazonas?
    # 2 ¿Qué te motiva a querer proteger el medio ambiente como el Amazonas?
    # 3 ¿Hay alguna información específica que ayude a describir sobre el Amazonas y lo que está sucediendo allí?
    Gracias.
    Reply

    jessica

    May 12, 2014 at 12:13 am
    Number 10 is obvious, it doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t live without trees. This site is CRAP >:(
    Reply

    enrique lopez

    June 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm
    no help at all
    Reply

    Inocencia

    October 13, 2014 at 11:22 pm
    This site sucks 🙁

    • kingston

      so gay

  • cheese

    This helped me so much thank you so so so so so much!

  • beef jerky

    NO HELP WHATSOEVER

  • matthew

    hi

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    hi

  • mr woods

    hey

  • doyle

    hi matthew

  • Awesome

    I am cool

  • kaleb

    losers i love trees

    • immagonnaeatu

      dosent everybody love trees they should

    • I Hate Trees

      I hate trees

  • mason

    wat up

    • Isabelle

      Now that’s subtel! Great to hear from you.

  • baller

    hi matthew

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    im awsome

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    hi mom

    • baller

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      • Eagle

        That’s a brilliant answer to an inisteetrng question

  • matthew

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  • Awesome

    this was great

  • Human

    F off

  • sibonelo

    Ths site was of great help to me

  • hi

    Thxs so much this got me so much info for a project im doing

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    I no rght dis siute iss sooo,. sdupid tis gy shud dy inn a hol

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    this site is terriblllle every0ne n0 rain forests aunt real

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    Yellow

  • angel

    why dosn’t this work >:(

  • katee

    this still dosn’t work >:(

  • katee

    this was interesting but no help i thought this was supposed to help us

    • F**k Y**

      Cool story, bro. It reminds you insane idiots how fuking negligently wasteful you all are. That’s how it helps us. Now, continue to do your destructive share for the only planet we’ve honestly known for the past 200,000 years. Have a shit day, please.

      • money

        rainforests arnt reall man there not a problem burn burn burn money money money wooooooo money who cares about anything that isnt human we can live with out it

        • Maffuyou

          True dat bru dis gy iss soooooo stupid

        • leah

          You want to be able to breathe right? Then you need trees dumb ass.°○°

      • Timothy Apwisch

        I’m with you. Most of these people are idiots.

      • D

        Thank you! They are litterally idiots…

  • Inocencia

    This site sucks 🙁

  • enrique lopez

    no help at all

  • jessica

    Number 10 is obvious, it doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t live without trees. This site is CRAP >:(

  • Frank

    Hola! Mi nombre es Frank y yo estoy en los EE.UU. en el quinto grado de hacer un proyecto de investigación sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación occuring allí. Parte de mi proyecto es entrevistar a una persona que está relacionada con el tema, y desde que he leído su papel Newswire decidí hacerle una entrevista sobre la selva amazónica y la deforestación allí. También tengo un par de preguntas para hacerle a usted y yo estaría muy agradecido si usted les contestó.

    # 1 ¿Hay un papel específico que juega en la transmisión del mensaje del factor limitante de la deforestación en el Amazonas?

    # 2 ¿Qué te motiva a querer proteger el medio ambiente como el Amazonas?

    # 3 ¿Hay alguna información específica que ayude a describir sobre el Amazonas y lo que está sucediendo allí?

    Gracias.

    • NIco

      Estamos tratando de salvar los bosques que por eso

      • hectic mc

        18 holes a day and still have time for golf

    • Susy

      At last, sooenme who knows where to find the beef

  • Kimmie

    It was only a little bit helpful to me too.

  • brendan

    dang me too

    • Bertie

      A piece of erodutiin unlike any other!

  • alexis

    This site was no help to me.

    • ayesha

      this site was a great help to me as i have a project on how to save the envornment

      • erin fralin

        me too

        • you

          same

    • food

      hi

    • Mr.poopybutthole

      If you don’t believe the sun will rise stand alone and great the coming night in the last remaining light