Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest. This can include clearing the land for agriculture or grazing, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing. After oceans, forests are the largest storehouses of carbon. But we’re losing forests at an alarming rate.Two-thirds of global forest cover loss is occuring mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics, where vast clusters of deforestation hotspots are destroying the important ecosystem services forests provide.

Increased public and private sector collaboration and alignment of efforts to address deforestation and conversion are an important step to increasing sustainable food production and local peoples’ livelihoods while reducing the environmental impacts of production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Deforestation is also being driven by logging, human migration and population increases, extractive industries (mining, oil and gas), transport and infrastructure projects and expanding towns and cities. The exact causes of deforestation change over time, and vary from region to region. These regional differences highlight the need for place-based solutions that take specific local contexts into account.

Natural fires in tropical forests tend to be rare but intense. Human-lit fires are commonly used to clear land for agricultural use. First, valuable timber is harvested, then the remaining vegetation is burned to make way for crops like soy or cattle grazing. We need trees for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they absorb not only the carbon dioxide that we exhale, but also the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that human activities emit. As those gases enter the atmosphere, global warming increases, a trend scientists now… As the world seeks to slow the pace of climate change, preserve wildlife, and support billions of people, trees inevitably hold a major part of the answer. Yet the mass destruction of trees—deforestation—continues, sacrificing the long-term benefits of standing trees for short-term gain.

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