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What are the common causes of rainforest deforestation?

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Quick Answer

Though natural disasters do play a role, the biggest causes of rainforest deforestation are human activities, such as logging, agricultural expansion, urbanization, hydroelectric dams building and so on. Deforestation comes in many forms. The most common forms are fires and clear-cutting.

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Full Answer

Rainforests cover only six percent of the Earth's surface, yet contain half of the world's plant and animal species. More than 28 percent of the world's oxygen is produced in rainforests, a fifth of fresh water is found in those forests, and a quarter of natural medicines have been discovered there. Rainforests also play a critical role in mitigating climate change. Although rainforests bring such many benefits, they are under threat from deforestation.

There are many causes of deforestation. A primary driver of deforestation is illegal logging. This destruction threatens some of the world’s most famous and valuable forests, including rainforests in the Amazon. The World Wildlife Fund reports that half of the trees illegally removed from forests are used as fuel. The conversion of forests into agriculture plantations is another major cause. The increase in global demand for commodities, such as palm oil and soybeans, are driving industrial-scale producers to clear forests at alarming rate.

Another factor causing the loss of rainforest is expanding urban areas. Urbanization causes rainforests loss as it increases the consumption of materials and land resources. Among the reasons of deforestation, hydroelectric dams building are quite controversial because while they help to power communities, they also contribute to loss of rainforests by opening up areas to loggers and more roads.

Deforestation is increasing at a rapid pace. It is considered to be one of the contributing factors to global climate change, and it also leads to soil erosion, loss of species and other bad effects.

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