How does agricultural expansion cause deforestation


Increasingly, the world’s agriculture system is expanding its terrestrial footprint to produce livestock feed that meets the growing demand for meat and dairy products or crop-based biofuels. This type of growth is only putting more pressure on forests and increasing the destruction of critical ecosystems.

How does agriculture cause deforestation?

Cattle ranching, animal agriculture, and logging are the leading causes of deforestation in our forests. The forest is cut to provide timber to build houses and create specialty wood products, or burned to make room for cattle grazing and feed crop production.

How does agriculture cause deforestation in the rainforest?

Deforestation is the conversion of forest to other land uses, such as agriculture and infrastructure. Worldwide, more than half of forest loss is due to conversion of forest into cropland, whereas livestock grazing is responsible for almost 40 percent of forest loss, according to the new study.

What are the effect of agricultural expansion?

In recent decades, the acceleration of agricultural expansion — but also land use intensification — has resulted in a significant negative impact to tropical rainforests, leading to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and changes to watershed hydrology and water balance (Lathuillière et al., …

Is shifting agriculture causes deforestation?

Abstract. About half of tropical deforestation is commonly explained by the expansion of traditional agriculture (shifting cultivation).

What agriculture methods cause desertification?

Desertification occurs when the anthropogenically induced degradation exceeds the ecosystem’s restorative capacity. The major causes of desertification include overgrazing, overcultivation of marginal land, unsustainable ‘slash-and-burn’ agricultural practice, logging for fuelwood, and poor irrigation techniques.

What is the cause of agricultural expansion?

The agricultural expansion is often explained as a direct consequence of the global increase in food and energy requirements due to continuing population growth (both which in turn have been attributed to agricultural expansion itself), with an estimated expectation of 10 to 11 billion humans on Earth by end of this …

How does agricultural activities destroy the environment?

Such farming practices, by and large, depleted and degraded soil, reduced biodiversity (e.g., disappearance of crop diversification) and produced water and air pollution, degrading the environment and posing a health threat to farmworkers and consumers.

How does agriculture impact the environment?

Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in many countries. Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic farm chemicals can poison fresh water, marine ecosystems, air and soil. They also can remain in the environment for generations.

What do you mean by agricultural expansion?

Agricultural expansion is the conversion of nonagricultural lands to agricultural lands, for example, conversion of forested lands to crops, wetlands to rice fields or fishponds, or natural grasslands to pastures.

How does overpopulation cause deforestation?

However there is good evidence that rapid population growth is a major indirect and over-arching cause of deforestation. More people require more food and space which requires more land for agriculture and habitation. This in turn results in more clearing of forests.

Why is shifting agriculture a wasteful method of cultivation?

Shifting agriculture is a wasteful method of cultivation because it causes forest loss. It is one of the most cause of deforestation. It is the greatest enemy of forest. It is the cause of the global warming also.

What are the major impact of shifting cultivation on land degradation?

The earlier 15-20 year cycle of shifting cultivation on a particular land has reduced to 2-3 years now. This has resulted in large-scale deforestation, soil and nutrient loss, and invasion by weeds and other species. The indigenous biodiversity has been affected to a large extent.

How does agriculture contribute to deforestation?

Box 1:In the Brazilian Amazon, large-scale agriculture contributes to deforestation through the conversion of forests to cropland, which began with small-scale timber extraction and subsistence agriculture. The mechanization of forest clearing led to the expansion of the road networks deep into the forests. Larger farms followed suit first with cattle ranching and later with large scale soybean cultivation. Since 1970, approximately 70 per cent of forest clearing has been due to medium and large-scale ranches (Fearnside, 2005). The profit from beef cattle was an important motivation. However, recently the expansion of large-scale mechanized agriculture at the forest frontier has been caused by an increase in soybean cultivation. For the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, Morton et al. (2006) found a significant correlation between deforestation and the price of soybeans and they attributed 17 per cent of the forest loss to large scale cropland expansion. There is a clear correlation between deforestation and the prices of soybean. In this case, agriculture is the main immediate driver of deforestation, which is influenced by underlying factors, such as the expansion of the road network, the proximity to previous clearings, high population densities, and climatic factors such as low annual rainfall, and long dry seasons (Kirby et al 2006).

How do forests help the world?

There is moreover strong evidence that forests, and trees outside forests, play a crucial role in supporting livelihoods and promoting food security. An estimated 1.6 billion people, more than 25 per cent of the world’s population, rely on forest resources for their livelihoods, and of these almost 1.2 billion live in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2001). An agreement on the mechanism, referred to as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+), was endorsed at the UNFCCC’s COP16 meeting in Cancun in December 2010. REDD+ provides a unique opportunity to give a monetary value to the carbon stored in standing forests. Until now, income from the forestry sector was mainly derived by extracting timber and non-timber forest products and from converting the land to other uses such as pasture for cattle ranching or crop cultivation. The agents who drive deforestation differ; there are small and large-scale farmers who contribute to land conversion through their agricultural activities, but with different motives. For any REDD+ scheme to be successful, the different drivers of deforestation must be understood and addressed.

What are the causes of deforestation?

The most common pressures causing deforestation and severe forest degradation are agriculture, unsustainable forest management, mining, infrastructure projects and increased fire incidence and intensity.

What are the factors that affect deforestation?

Agricultural Activities. As earlier mentioned in the overview, agricultural activities are one of the significant factors affecting deforestation.

Which region has the strongest deforestation?

Cattle ranching and deforestation are strongest in Latin America.

What are the effects of the loss of trees?

The loss of trees and other vegetation can cause climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere , and a host of problems for indigenous people.

What were the factors that contributed to the expansion of agriculture?

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the abundance of land, available labour and the mobility of peasants were three factors that were responsible for the constant expansion of agriculture.

What is the biggest driver of deforestation?

Agriculture is the direct driver of roughly 80 percent of tropical deforestation, while logging is the biggest single driver of forest degradation, says a new report funded by the British and Norwegian governments.

What is agricultural extension?

Agricultural extension (also known as agricultural advisory services) plays a crucial role in boosting agricultural productivity, increasing food security, improving rural livelihoods, and promoting agriculture as an engine of pro-poor economic growth.

What is the impact of deforestation on the environment?

Deforestation for agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy, and cattle is wiping out biodiversity and driving this climate emergency. We are at a point in time where a complete cease in deforestation and serious restoration efforts are needed to prevent mass species extinction if we are to limit global warming under 1.5°C degree world.

What is the biggest cause of deforestation in Amazon?

Cattle ranching — and the soy farming needed to feed the cattle — is the biggest cause of deforestation in virtually every Amazon country. Around 90% of soy is used to feed animals to produce meat and dairy products.

How much carbon is released from cattle ranching?

Worldwide, deforestation due to cattle ranching releases 340 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, or 3.4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this comes from the Amazon region. In 2009, Greenpeace published a landmark three-year investigation entitled Slaughtering the Amazon.

How much forest is destroyed by global commodity production?

Recent Analysis by Greenpeace International suggested that, by the start of 2020, some 50 million hectares of forest — an area the size of Spain — is likely to have been destroyed for global commodity production since those promises were made in 2010.

What are the commodities that are being used to eliminate deforestation?

Starting in 2010, a wave of companies pledged to help eliminate deforestation by 2020 through the responsible sourcing of the commodities most linked to forest destruction — cattle, palm oil, pulp and paper, and soya.

What are the commodities that are losing forests?

As we rely on industrial agricultural commodities such as palm, soy, and industrial produced meat and dairy, we are losing forests and accelerating a climate and ecological emergency.

What is the number one driver of deforestation worldwide?

Agribusiness —in which huge areas of forest are burned or cleared to make space for crops and livestock—is the number one driver of deforestation worldwide.

Why does deforestation happen?

It can also happen gradually as a result of ongoing forest degradation as temperatures rise due to climate change caused by human activity.

How does infrastructure affect deforestation?

Some infrastructure activities, such as road building, have a large indirect effect through opening up forests to settlers and agriculture. Poor forest management and unsustainable fuelwood collection degrade forests and often instigate a “death by a thousand cuts” form of deforestation.

Where does illegal logging occur?

Illegal and unsustainable logging : Illegal logging occurs in all types of forests across all continents – from Brazil to Indonesia – destroying nature and wildlife, taking away community livelihoods and distorting trade. Illegally harvested wood finds its way into major consumption markets, such as the U.S., and European Union, which further fuels the cycle.

What are some land uses that forests can be converted to?

Conversion of forests for other land uses, including pulp, palm, and soy plantations, pastures, settlements, roads and infrastructure.

Is a forest fire a part of nature?

Fires are a part of nature but degraded forests are particularly vulnerable. These include heavily logged rainforests, forests on peat soils, or where forest fires have been suppressed for years allowing unnatural accumulation of vegetation that makes the fire burn more intensely.



Deforestation, clearance, clearcutting or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees from land which is then converted to a non-forest use. Deforestation can involve conversion of forest land to farms, ranches, or urban use. The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests. About 31% of Earth’s la…

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  • There are many causes of deforestation. The WWF& reports that half of the trees illegally removed from forests are used as fuel.Some other common reasons are: 1. To make more land available for housing and urbanization 2. To harvest timber to create commercial items such as paper, furniture and homes 3. To create ingredients that are highly prized consumer items, such …

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  • According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%; logging is responsible for 14%, and fuel wood removals make up 5%. Experts do not agree on whether industrial logging is …

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  • Deforestation occurs for a number of reasons, including: farming, mostly cattle due to its quick turn around; and logging, for materials and development. It has been happening for thousands of years, arguably since man began converting from hunter/gatherer to agricultural based societies, and required larger, unobstructed tracks of land to accommodate cattle, crops, and housing. It w…

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  • Deforestation occurs primarily as a result of: agriculture, fuel use and production (firewood, charcoal, etc), timber harvesting, pasture-clearing for livestock animals, and expanding human settlements. And also, to a degree, due to large scale war throughout history fire has often been used as a way to deprive enemy populations of necessary resources. These deforested areas al…

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  • The loss of trees and other vegetation can cause climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and a host of problems for indigenous people. One of the most dangerous and unsettling effects of deforestation is the loss of animal and plant species due to their loss of habitat; not only do we lose those known to us, b…

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  • During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away with the prevailing winds. At times, the clouds blackened the sky, reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean, carried by prevailing winds. These immense dust storms given …

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Some of the major effects of deforestation include biodiversity loss, local climate change and global warming. Farmers often have trouble raising crops, which typically results in more problems, such as an increase in food prices. Soil erosion and cultural displacement also can occur. Those who want to address the proble…

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  • Hydrological Water cycle in the nature gets affected by deforestation. Trees pull up ground water with the help of their roots and then release the water vapour into the atmosphere. If trees are reduced, the water vapour content in the atmosphere is reduced and it results in drier climate. It also results in soil erosion which may lead to landslides or floods.

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Environmental Effects

  • Atmospheric
    Deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography. Deforestation is a contributor to global warming, and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas em…
  • Hydrological
    The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer transpire this water, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reduces the content of…

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  • In addition to the loss of habitat, the lack of trees also allows a greater amount of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere. Presently, the tropical rainforests of South America are responsible for 20% of Earths oxygen and they are disappearing at a rate of 4 hectares a decade. If these rates are not stopped and reversed, the consequences will become even more severe.

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  • Amongst these environmental/ecological impacts are/were: significant soil erosion, nearly complete deforestation, and wide spread extinctions. Subsequently, agricultural failures occurred, and, also, the ability to build seaworthy ships was lost. The final disappearance of the trees on the island seems to coincide exactly with the large-scale decline of its civilization sometime around …

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  • Some individuals and businesses are taking a stand for the environment by going paperless, using technology to communicate, perform tasks and keep records. Recycling also helps reduce the amount of trees that are cut down unnecessarily. Supporting groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council is an additional option, as is lobbying for increased regulations related to e…

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  • As large populations often quickly use up all of the resources located near them, they almost always become dependent upon expansion in order to continue fueling their infrastructure this continues until the reliance on distant, far-off resources becomes too burdensome and inefficient, and the civilization collapses or retracts.

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  • Reforestation In East Asian countries reforestation and afforestation are increasing slowly. Between 2000 and 2005, 1 million hectares of lost forest area was again brought back to life. Depending on the latest trends, it is believed that by 2050 there will an increase in forest cover globally by 10%.

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  • Many propositions have been put forward such as sustainable wood sources but it isnt enough. Organisations such as Greenpeace and other activists make a huge effort to save the rainforests, but in doing so they make many enemies, many of whom are those whose co-operation is needed to help both the rainforests and the people. And, if deforestation continues at its current rate, in j…

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Economic Impact

  • Damage to forests and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world’s poor and reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050, a report concluded at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Bonn in 2008. Historically, utilization of forest products, including timber and fuel wood, has played a key role in human societies, comparable to the roles of water and cultiva…

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  • In addition to these official numbers, forests have also been, in recent years, becoming more and more affected by the changing climate with increasing levels of drought, growing numbers of forest fires, increasingly common powerful storms and extreme weather, an explosion in insect numbers, and the spread of disease, all taking a toll.

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Soil Erosion

  • In ‘undisturbed’ forests there is only a very minimal rate of soil loss. Deforestation considerably increases this rate of soil erosion — largely through the actions of increased rainfall runoff and decreased ground debris. This is further compounded by the increasing aridity of the unprotected soils and the absence of vegetation and roots — which work/function to hold the soil together.“T…

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  • Loss of vegetation cover through deforestation causes soil erosion which may result in desertification. Increased demand for agricultural produce is resulting in negative human activities where land’s natural vegetation is cleared, to make way for crops like maize, coffee, cotton, soybean, palm oil, wheat and others. As a result, the new vegetation in form of crops, do…

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  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines deforestation as the \”permanent removal of standing forests.\” The removal, however, occurs for a variety of different reasons and has a variety of devastating consequences.

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  • A loss of biodiversity often follows a reduction in the amount of forested land. Trees, shrubs and other plants provide shelter, food and shade for an enormous range of bacteria, fungi, insects, animals and birds. When deforestation occurs, it generally is much harder for the environment to sustain this variety, simply because not all organisms can survive in the same habitat or conditio…

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  • Division of Habitation Construction of roads through the forests leads to division of habitation of animals, birds and other species. Once the roads are put to use, they pose a barrier for free movement of wildlife. Although, a small portion of forest land would have been used by felling trees, the division of habitation would be strongly felt by wildlife leading to imbalance. Further, s…

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  • Due to the complexity of environmental issues such as deforestation, many conflicts have arisen between environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace and those involved in deforestation activities. The solutions to problems such as deforestation lie in addressing the root cause. In this case, finding a solution means considering the economic problems that lie at the heart of the sit…

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  • Deforestation is a complicated phenomenon and is driven by people’s need, international business, and local and country politics. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the sheer scale and enormity of deforestation.

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