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Has your favourite bushwalking area turned into a parking lot? Are cows now roaming where your local eucalypt forest used to be? If so, then deforestation is probably taking place in your community.

Submitted 11/11/2005 By ashley Views 347434 Comments 12 Updated 5/3/2006

Photographer : Paul Rose

Did you know...

  • 50 football fields of trees and bushlands are being lost every hour (Forest Conservation Portal)
  • 50–100 plant and animal species are disappearing every day? (Stock, J & Rochen, A)

What is deforestation?

Deforestation occurs when areas that used to be forested are converted for use in other ways such as logging or as agricultural ground. Deforestation can be at the heart of many problems that affect our environment.

At issue in the debate over deforestation, is how to balance corporate and human needs for forest land, against the needs of the environment. Deforestation is really a case by case problem but it happens for a few main reasons. The leading causes of deforestation include:
  • expansion of agricultural lands
  • dams and other development projects
  • fires
  • logging
  • mining.
In all cases except fire, the underlying cause of deforestation is economic.

Who is affected by deforestation?

If you breathe, then you are affected. Forests are crucial in recycling carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. They basically act as a filter for the air we breathe. When a forest is disturbed, it can affect the balance of the environment.

Is deforestation a problem unique to Australia?

No, deforestation occurs in all parts of the globe. Australia has a small percentage of forests compared to other countries (about 20% of the total land mass) but our forests are disappearing just as quickly as those in more forested countries. Australia ranks fifth in the world for the amount of deforestation that occurs every year. Deforestation can occur wherever there is an unprotected forest but the problem is more evident in the eucalypts forests of Tasmania.

What does deforestation mean for you?

Deforestation can lead to the destruction of natural habitats, causing plants and animals to become endangered or extinct. Forests contain 60% of the earth’s biodiversity and over 25% of the world’s medicine is derived from tropical plants. Australia is home to over one million species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Deforestation can also lead to drought, resulting in a number of long lasting affects including poor quality food and water restrictions. Australia’s recent drought has been linked to an increase of deforestation.

How do I know this?

Australian Greens, ‘Policies: international environmental sustainability’, Australian Greens Online,

Forest Conservation Portal,

Greenpeace International,, Australia deforestation rates and related forestry figures,

Stock, J & Rochen, A, The Choice: doomsday or arbor day

World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia,

World Wildlife Fund for Nature Australia, Logging is the major cause of global deforestation,>wood/log_maj.htm

Discuss Now

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RSS Comments

patricialovee97 25-Nov-2009

deforestation... its a sad thing to do.. imagine if we didnt have any oxygen anymore because all our trees were demolised and died. we wouldnt be able to line now would we?

sometime it might be a good thing. of course if we were to demolish a forest, we should put something useful there to replace it right?

help save the world by planting more trees on green day or you could pick up some rubbish.



han97 06-Jun-2009

Deforestaton is a global issue which in the end effects everyone and everything. It is killing all sorts of animal species that live in forests. If we leave leave this issue to go on like it is we wont be able to do what we can now. for example in winter we wont be able to keep warm if u need wood to burn a fire, or build houses or cabins to stay in. Deforestation is not good for the environment and it is really ruining alot of animal habitats, everyday they cut down millions of tress and sooner or later there will be a lot less animal species than there is today.



meex 04-Jul-2008

Excuse me but i already know all of that obviously you dont understand what i meant by my comment.
I wasnt born yesterday, i meant if governments make a place away from endangered rainforsests then it may help solve the problem of illegal deforestation, if you havent noticed people are doing it as a source of income, those who are born into poverty and things trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.
i know trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen thats something every one should know!
And i also know that without an environment there wouldnt be an economy.
My comment wasnt made out of lack of information, it was merely a suggestion to help those who are foced into that kind of work, cutting down such old and ancient trees is quite mortifying.
So next time why dont you read my comment preperly before you insult me.

Thank you



Red101 25-Jun-2008

Dear Calamity Jane shutting down logging isn't for a few ferals is one of the most uneducated comments i've ever come across, didn't you read the information above:

-Forests are essential for the Air YOU breathe

-"Forests are crucial in recycling carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. They basically act as a filter for the air we breathe"

-" Deforestation can lead to drought, resulting in a number of long lasting affects including poor quality food and water restrictions"

- The cures for cancer and many other ailments, come from plants found within forests

-The "economic" costs of unsustainable deforestation are greater than the economic and LIFE costs of mindless destruction

-Many forests and wetlands act as buffers against natural disasters such as Tsunamis and Hurricanes

-Life is more important than lifeless budgets, we WORK TO LIVE NOT LIVE TO WORK, the "economy" is made by us for us not us for an "economy"

- I sugest you read up on Easter Island, where a whole civilisation collapsed due to the mindless, unsustainble of the natural resources on the island



meex 07-Apr-2008

I dont support Deforestation but if governments came up with a solution to solve that problem and create something like a sustainable source that could be managed not only would they be creating legal work for those who are forced to do it for some kind of an income, it would help the economy as well