Destroying forests has lasting negative consequences that are already occurring, including the extinction of plant, insect and animal species. Rainforests lose an estimated 137 species each day, or 50,000 species per year, according to Rainforest Maker. These species may have important pharmaceutical qualities, as approximately 25 percent of current Western pharmaceuticals are obtained from rainforest species.
Another consequence of forest destruction is the loss of communities and culture, according to Green Peace. Indigenous people who live in the forests of Indonesia, Papa New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are driven from their homes when deforestation occurs. Additionally, their food sources are destroyed and the water from which they drink becomes polluted, which leads to disease. Green Peace states that less than 5 percent of the value of the logs taken from the forest is given to the people who live on the land.
Deforestation also has harmful effects on the environment, which include the release of copious greenhouse gases. Green Peace estimates that deforestation accounts for 20 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The destruction of a single tree prevents the storage of 1.5 tons of carbon while also releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Rainforest Maker.