At local, regional, and global scales, deforestation is significantly altering land cover, perhaps at an accelerating pace. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program, tropical forests are disappearing at a rate of 7.6 million hectares per year (as of year 2000): 4.4 million hectares a year in Latin America, 1.8 million hectares a year in Asia, and 1.4 million hectares a year in Africa. Trends suggest that deforestation of tropical forests is occurring at the greatest absolute rate in history. This transformation of the earth's surface is linked to a variety of scientific and policy issues that revolve around the human dimensions of land use/land cover change and the causes and consequences of such changes. As forests are converted ...

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