Here is your paragraph on the deforestation!
Forests are not merely a natural resource to supplement multiple human requirements but are a very vital component of the environmental system.
The forest plays a pivotal role in balancing the ecosystem. Growing industrialisation, urbanisation and ruthless exploitation of forests have created chaotic conditions and severe phyto-geographical and environmental imbalances.
The use of forests has been linked with mankind from times immemorial basically for food, shelter and clothing, but population exodus and stresses on forest resources created a condition where natural growth of forests and their maintenance is incapable of coping with the demand.
Tropical forests are the richest forest resources of the world; their distribution has been depicted in Figure 15.7.
But tropical deforestation has become an environmental issue over the past few years. Recent studies covering several key countries suggest that deforestation in the tropics may be much worse than was previously thought.
The annual deforestation in the tropics was estimated to 11.4 million ha in 1980 but now it has been estimated to be around 20.4 million ha. The rate of deforestation is much higher in countries like Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Since pre-agricultural times, the world’s forests have declined by one-fifth, from 5 to 4 billion ha.
Temperate forests have lost the highest percentage of their area (32-35%), followed by sub-tropical woody savannahs and deciduous forests (24-25%) and old growth tropical forests (15-20%). Tropical evergreen forests are now under the most pressure. Although most of the tropical forests are located in inaccessible areas and sparsely populated zones, now, these are facing the tragedy of destruction.
Tropical deforestation has three direct causes, which often act together in the same area. The first is permanent conversion of forest to agricultural land. Logging is another cause, although deforestation depends on the methods used and on what follows the logging.
A third cause of deforestation is the demand for fuel wood, fodder and other forest products, where the resources cannot meet the demands.
These direct causes as well as grazing, forest fire and drought are often interrelated and are exacerbated by government’s economic policies, population pressure and poverty. Thus, the main cause of deforestation is commercial exploitation of forests.
There has been growing concern among professional foresters during 1970s and 1980s about the rate of tropical deforestation.
With the introduction of the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) in 1985, FAO, UNDP, World Bank and other government and non-government organisations have expressed the opinion that efforts to improve forest management had failed, because many causes of deforestation lie outside the domain of national forest departments. The problem must therefore be addressed at higher political and economic levels.
TFAP was designed to deal not only with deforestation but also with forest degradation, with emphasis on agro-forestry, fuel wood, industrial forestry, and other methods by which forestry can provide goods and services to rural people and contribute to national economy. More than 60 countries have decided to prepare national forestry action plans to guide management of their forests.
As the role of tropical forests in tempering global warming and harbouring a diverse range of species has become clear, environmental groups have pressured international developmental agencies to halt projects that cause deforestation.