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  • Writer's pictureWill Hedrick

Deforestation Explained

Trees are one of the critical solutions to global warming and climate change. They support billions of humans and wildlife across the globe. Yet, deforestation-the clearing of wide areas of trees-still occurs.

An estimated 10 million hectares are cut down each year - about the size of Kentucky, the 37th largest state in the U.S., In the last 50 years. Since 1990, 420 million hectares, or a billion acres, have been deforested. 17% of the Amazon has been cut down due to agricultural expansion, illegal gold mining and logging, poorly planned infrastructure, climate change, and more.

Forests cover around 30% of Earth's land. Forests are home to 75% of life on Earth and help control climate change by acting as a carbon sink. Trees absorb our greenhouse gasses that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere - increasing the rate of global warming and climate change.

The Causes of Deforestation

Deforestation causes are different depending on region and the grounds of the deforestation. In Tropical Rainforests, where the greatest amount of deforestation occurs, newly constructed roads and infrastructure allow farmers to expand their agricultural business to new places. The slash-and-burn technique extensively burns large areas of forests and leaves the ash behind as it acts as an excellent fertilizer. A few years later, the fertile soil is no longer, and the farmers move to the next section of land. Whether it is palm oil, logging, cattle ranching, or rubber trees, the farmers have various uses for the land.

According to the World Resources Institute, farming, livestock grazing, drilling, and mining can contribute to more than 50% of deforestation globally. In addition, legally or illegally, logging grants access to more urbanization and changes to forests globally.

While the previously mentioned methods of deforestation are all intentional, there is one unintentional cause of deforestation. Wildfires. Wildfires can be devastating to forests and are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change globally.

Why does it matter?

More than 75% of the world's plants and animals call forests home. 250 million people also depend on them for employment. The continual destruction of forests could increase poverty rates for these employed individuals.

While we are actively deforesting our world's forests, we are increasing our carbon production, effectively removing one of the only solutions to global warming while we create more greenhouse gasses.

What We Can Do To Help

At The Hedrick Project, we have a project dedicated to reforestation. We have partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to help carry out our work.

Eden Reforestation Projects has set a bold goal to produce, plant, and protect a minimum of 4 billion trees. They operate in 10 project countries and plant nearly a million trees per day. Eden takes an innovative approach to reforestation. They connect with local leaders to engage communities to inspire great commitment to reforestation and a sense of ownership to protect their forests long-term.

Eden Projects provides economic incentives and simple planting techniques to support local communities in restoring their local environment and economy. Their success and the communities’ success are inextricably entwined.


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