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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103 Comments

  1. I Hate Trees

    I Hate Trees

    February 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Trees Suck

    • I Love Trees

      I Love Trees

      March 15, 2017 at 4:50 am

      Fight me

  2. Shaylan

    Shaylan

    December 8, 2016 at 10:14 pm

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

  3. blu

    blu

    October 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    I am a lover of long sentences, sentences that wind their way through various clauses and complements. bucking the contemporary trend towar bite sized bits of information and prose that relishes its own staccato rather than to perform high wire acts of syntax and grammar, pulling the reader’s attention first in one direction, then guage, the crazy courage of the feat itself, the suspense of wondering when it will callapse like a sastle made of toothpicks or a spaceship built from playrin fuck monkeys

  4. Mr.poopybutthole

    Mr.poopybutthole

    October 20, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Your ctr coordinator is here to help you successfully make the move from being a butt licker to becoming a meat lover the is relocated and on your way to the next stage of life outside of the butt licker society

  5. Steffi

    Steffi

    July 21, 2016 at 11:39 am

    That’s a sharp way of thiinkng about it.

  6. deez

    deez

    April 25, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    if you are what you eat im human

    • trentpiggy

      trentpiggy

      April 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      what the fuck hellen keller? go eat some apples with knives in them so go kill yourself & die stupid b***h!

      • Jemily

        Jemily

        April 26, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        die

      • buttstuff

        buttstuff

        May 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        damn

      • Dammboy

        Dammboy

        May 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

        Damm son

      • Katie lover5678 johnson

        Katie lover5678 johnson

        May 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        Don’t swear

    • buttstuff

      buttstuff

      May 4, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      dont eat me pls

    • Buttstuffs twin

      Buttstuffs twin

      May 5, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Canabilism is cool.😳😳

    • rose

      rose

      May 30, 2016 at 5:43 am

      this is fuckin bull shit

  7. deez

    deez

    April 25, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    this helped alot

  8. oli fletcher

    oli fletcher

    March 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    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

      muumuu

      April 13, 2016 at 2:42 am

      IN The END WE ARE ALL DOOMED IN THIS ENVIRONMENT

      • BigFort55

        BigFort55

        April 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

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

        • Achicken Hoyland

          Achicken Hoyland

          March 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

          Learn how to spell

          • Gayle

            Gayle

            March 22, 2017 at 12:41 pm

            Learn how to get a name

    • Micheal

      Micheal

      April 21, 2016 at 5:53 pm

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

    • Mik

      Mik

      April 25, 2016 at 5:03 pm

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

  9. 2my ah shah dude 3tf

    2my ah shah dude 3tf

    March 16, 2016 at 1:32 am

    ah shah dudes

    • 2my ah shah dude 3tf

      2my ah shah dude 3tf

      March 16, 2016 at 1:34 am

      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

  10. 2my ah shah dude 3tf

    2my ah shah dude 3tf

    March 16, 2016 at 1:31 am

    ah shah dude

  11. banana

    banana

    February 9, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    thanks for the information I could use it

    • james

      james

      February 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      I like turtles

      • avery

        avery

        March 10, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        your a idiot

        • Jimmy

          Jimmy

          April 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

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

        • Fuckkkjerry

          Fuckkkjerry

          March 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          You’re

  12. colin

    colin

    December 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

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

    • nate

      nate

      December 21, 2015 at 6:42 pm

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

  13. THE REALIST

    THE REALIST

    September 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    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

      Grant

      September 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

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

  14. Bob

    Bob

    July 31, 2015 at 12:49 am

    This site sucks

    • devpratapsingh

      devpratapsingh

      October 18, 2015 at 11:37 am

      Please mind your language.

      • Your mom

        Your mom

        April 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

        lmao why

        • Jean

          Jean

          July 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

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

  15. a crack up ranga

    a crack up ranga

    June 4, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    a crack up ranga is a good one

  16. a crack up ranga

    a crack up ranga

    June 4, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    a crack up ranga is a good ranga

  17. sadath

    sadath

    May 28, 2015 at 7:30 am

    hi jesca

  18. anynymos

    anynymos

    May 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

    thanks
    helped with my report

    • Random Person

      Random Person

      September 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

      same, great for a report

    • holy doodles

      holy doodles

      April 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm

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

    • holy doodles

      holy doodles

      April 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      ok…………………i’m still alive beaches

      • Rena

        Rena

        July 21, 2016 at 11:40 am

        I bow down humbly in the presence of such grasntese.

  19. shahid

    shahid

    April 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    poo

  20. shahid

    shahid

    April 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    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

      kingston

      September 16, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      so gay

  21. cheese

    cheese

    April 16, 2015 at 2:26 pm

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

  22. beef jerky

    beef jerky

    March 31, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    NO HELP WHATSOEVER

  23. matthew

    matthew

    March 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    hi

  24. best looken guy in the world

    best looken guy in the world

    March 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    hi

  25. mr woods

    mr woods

    March 24, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    hey

  26. doyle

    doyle

    March 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    hi matthew

  27. Awesome

    Awesome

    March 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I am cool

  28. kaleb

    kaleb

    March 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    losers i love trees

    • immagonnaeatu

      immagonnaeatu

      January 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      dosent everybody love trees they should

    • I Hate Trees

      I Hate Trees

      February 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      I hate trees

  29. mason

    mason

    March 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    wat up

    • Isabelle

      Isabelle

      July 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

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

  30. baller

    baller

    March 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    hi matthew

  31. matthew

    matthew

    March 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    im awsome

  32. matthew

    matthew

    March 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    hi mom

    • baller

      baller

      March 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      ha loser

      • Eagle

        Eagle

        July 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        That’s a brilliant answer to an inisteetrng question

  33. matthew

    matthew

    March 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    free the treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees

  34. Awesome

    Awesome

    March 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    this was great

  35. Human

    Human

    March 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

    F off

  36. sibonelo

    sibonelo

    February 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Ths site was of great help to me

  37. hi

    hi

    February 18, 2015 at 9:28 pm

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

  38. lolv2

    lolv2

    February 8, 2015 at 7:03 am

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

  39. lol

    lol

    February 8, 2015 at 6:59 am

    this site is terriblllle every0ne n0 rain forests aunt real

  40. ooo

    ooo

    January 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    wow

  41. pinky

    pinky

    January 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Yellow

  42. angel

    angel

    December 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    why dosn’t this work >:(

  43. katee

    katee

    December 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    this still dosn’t work >:(

  44. katee

    katee

    November 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

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

    • F**k Y**

      F**k Y**

      January 24, 2015 at 5:59 am

      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

        money

        February 8, 2015 at 7:03 am

        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

          Maffuyou

          February 8, 2015 at 7:07 am

          True dat bru dis gy iss soooooo stupid

        • leah

          leah

          May 1, 2015 at 5:02 am

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

      • Timothy Apwisch

        Timothy Apwisch

        May 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm

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

      • D

        D

        May 19, 2015 at 2:34 am

        Thank you! They are litterally idiots…

  45. Inocencia

    Inocencia

    October 13, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    This site sucks :-(

  46. enrique lopez

    enrique lopez

    June 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    no help at all

  47. jessica

    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 >:(

  48. Frank

    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.

    • NIco

      NIco

      May 14, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Estamos tratando de salvar los bosques que por eso

      • hectic mc

        hectic mc

        August 3, 2015 at 4:18 am

        18 holes a day and still have time for golf

    • Susy

      Susy

      July 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      At last, sooenme who knows where to find the beef

  49. Kimmie

    Kimmie

    May 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    It was only a little bit helpful to me too.

  50. brendan

    brendan

    April 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    dang me too

    • Bertie

      Bertie

      July 21, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      A piece of erodutiin unlike any other!

  51. alexis

    alexis

    March 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    This site was no help to me.

    • ayesha

      ayesha

      November 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

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

      • erin fralin

        erin fralin

        May 7, 2015 at 12:33 am

        me too

        • you

          you

          May 12, 2015 at 12:29 am

          same

    • food

      food

      June 2, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      hi

    • Mr.poopybutthole

      Mr.poopybutthole

      October 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm

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

  52. Random Person

    Random Person

    September 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

    in the middle of year 2013

  53. mee

    mee

    December 28, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    thanx tu thic site i passed my grade

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