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Deforestation

  • By: Birgit Schmook
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Deforestation is defined as the complete removal or logging of trees in forested areas. It constitutes a serious threat to human civilization and forest ecosystems because tropical forests especially maintain the structure and function of the Earth system and deliver services from biogeochemical cycling to biotic diversity.

Deforestation contributes to global warming and is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation, mainly in tropical areas, accounts for up to 20 percent of the total anthropogenic emissions of carbon, a greenhouse gas that is released during burning and decay. The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere; when removed, trees no longer evaporate ...

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