DEFINITION OF DEFORESTATION
What is deforestation? The green definition of deforestation is the destruction of a forest andchanging the use of the land.Many people are concerned about the fact that there is no official or common definition of deforestation. For instance, should it also be used to describe forests where the nature of thetrees have changed, such as replacing slow growing indigenous trees with fast growingwoods, meaning that the precious eco-system of the forest is destroyed?Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forested land, for uses such as:pasture, urban use, logging purposes, and can result in arid land and wastelands. Theremoval or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in an alteredenvironment with reduced biodiversity. In many countries, deforestation is ongoing and isshaping climate and geography. Deforestation results from removal of trees withoutsufficient reforestation, and results in declines in habitat and biodiversity, wood for fuel andindustrial use, and quality of life. Forests disappear naturally as a result of broad climatechange, fire, hurricanes or other disturbances, however most deforestation in the past40,000 years has been anthropogenic. Human induced deforestation may be accidental suchas in the case of forests in Europe adversely affected by acid rain. Improperly appliedlogging, fuelwood collection, fire management or grazing can also lead to unintentionaldeforestation. However, most anthropogenic deforestation is deliberate. The term deforestation is used to describe the process of removing the trees in forests andwoodland and converting the land to other use.Since ancient times, man has been adapting the environment to meet the growing needs of civilizations. From the cutting down of the first trees for fire, through to the clearing of woodlands to settlers to build their homesteads, trees have long been at the mercy of man.In many parts of the world huge areas of woodlands and forests have been cleared over thecenturies to both provide wood for essential purposes such as fuel, ships and building, andalso to free the land for other use.Over recent years, however, we have become more aware of the wider issues of deforestation and the harm that it causes our planet. Just because this is something we havebeen doing for centuries does not mean that it is right, or that we have the right to continue.Likewise, we cannot judge history by contemporary standards, and while we now know theissues of deforestation we cannot condemn the practice in the past. The historic clearing of forests was to allow civilizations to grow and flourish, while many of the forests cleared todayare for economic reasons only. We now know that 80 percent of the world´s ancient forestshave been destroyed. This situation has changed however, and issues surrounding deforestation are known andrecognized. Back in the 1980´s the issues of preserving the rain forests of South Americastarted to become high profile and artists such as Sting helped raise awareness. Despite this,in the past 30 years aggressive deforestation has continued -- and much of it has beenillegal.