Exploring the Tropical Rainforest
Causes of Destruction

Tropical rainforests are being cut at an alarming rate. Although estimates vary, some scientists believe that we are losing an area of rainforest the size of Pennsylvania each year. If deforestation continues at this rate we may lose rainforests altogether within the next one hundred years.

Tropical deforestation occurs for a number of reasons. As human populations increase in tropical regions, people move away from the overcrowded cities into the forest areas where they practice small-scale farming. Commercial agricultural projects may require conversion of large plots of rainforest land and may cause more permanent damage.

Logging of forests for firewood, charcoal, building materials, and other wood products is another cause of deforestation.

The conversion of rainforest to pasture land for cattle ranching has led to the destruction of millions of acres of forest.

Mining for gold, bauxite from which aluminum is made, and other minerals can lead to the drastic destruction of the land. Once the land is scarred by mining efforts it is left vulnerable to massive erosion.

Other events and issues such as natural disasters, war, the construction of dams, and poverty in developing countries also contribute to the destruction of tropical rainforests.


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