Forests Go Bald: 8 Major Causes of Deforestation

Forests are very important. Over 2 billion people rely on forests for food, shelter, water, livelihood, fuel security and even oxygen. It is also “a home to 80% of world’s terrestrial biodiversity.” However, as human population grows, the forests gradually reduce in size. Deforestation threatens biodiversity and human existence.

Here are eight major causes of deforestation:

Forest fires

Millions of hectares of forests worldwide are burned each year. This may be caused a lightning strike, too high temperature, or people burning the forests. Forest fires can last for weeks.

Illegal logging

According to research, more than 15 billion trees are chopped down every year. Peru records a rate of 80% in illegal logging, whereas Myanmar has 85%. The US is the world’s largest important of these forest products.

Fuelwood harvesting

Based on FAO, 2.6 billion people depend on fuelwood or charcoal as their source of energy in cooking and heating. Thus, the consumption of fuelwood has increased to 250% since 1960.

Agricultural expansion

Human’s rapid increase of demand for major commodities, including rice, soybeans, and palm oil requires the conversion of forests into agricultural plantations.

Livestock ranching

As the demand for livestock products increases, more farmers utilize the forest space as a livestock ranch. Since 1990, Brazil converted their forest (three-fourths of the size of Texas) to cow ranch to meet up the strong global demand for beef.

Infrastructure expansion

Every year, an average of 6,500 miles of roads are constructed in the US. This requires the forest space to build the roads. Further, the rise of infrastructures and other buildings affects the forests.


As of 2017, the world population has ballooned to 7.6 billion people. Almost 30% of it solely depends on forests as their source of food, shelter, and livelihood. As our population increases, more forests will be consumed.

Climate change

Lastly, climate change has dramatically affected our forests. Climate change dries forests leading to forest fires. It also affects our biodiversity that maintains the equilibrium in our forest. Moreover, climate change disturbs the natural cycles and processes occurring in the forests.

What can you do to prevent deforestation?