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Drivers of deforestation



The following are estimates for drivers of deforestation. Please note that this page will be updated as new data and analyses are published and become available.

The causes of deforestation vary from region to region. In Latin America and Southeast Asia a majority of deforestation is today the result of industrial activities, notably cattle ranching in the Amazon and large-scale agriculture and intensive logging in Southeast Asia. Subsistence agriculture, often using slash-and-burn / fallow techniques, is the most important driver of forest loss in Africa.

While net forest loss has remained relatively constant over the past twenty years, there have been two significant shifts since the late 1980s: (1) old-growth forests are being replaced by plantations and degraded, logged-over forests; and (2) forest clearing is increasingly driven by industry rather than subsistence activities.

Controlling deforestation is imperative to addressing climate change. The annual destruction of 13 million hectares of forest accounts for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, a greater share than all the world's trucks, cars, ships, and airplanes combined.

Estimates based on HK Gibbs (2008):

Chart: Drivers of deforestation in Central America
Drivers of deforestation in Central America

Chart: Drivers of deforestation in South America
Drivers of deforestation in South America

Chart: Drivers of deforestation in Southeast Asia
Drivers of deforestation in Southeast Asia

Chart: Drivers of deforestation in Tropical Africa
Drivers of deforestation in Tropical Africa

Estimates from Project Catalyst (2008):

Drivers of deforestation
Drivers of deforestation in South America (Neotropics)

Drivers of deforestation in Southeast Asia
Drivers of deforestation in Southeast Asia

Drivers of deforestation in Africa
Drivers of deforestation in Africa

drivers of deforestation
Continental-level estimations of the importance of deforestation drivers as reported by 46 countries: (a) in terms of overall continental proportions as sum of country data weighted by net forest area change by country (km2/y, FAO, 2010a) for the period 2000–2010 (b) the same data shown in terms of absolute national net forest area change by (km2/y, FAO, 2010a), and (c) for continental estimations of relative importance of degradation drivers (Source: Hosonuma et al., 2012). Caption and image courtesy of Kissinger et al. Click image to enlarge. More information



By Rhett Butler



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Other pages in this section:

A World Imperilled
Threats from Humankind
Economic Restructuring
Logging
Fires
Commercial Agriculture
Hydro, Pollution, Hunting
Debt
Consumption, Conclusion
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References
References
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References
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Natural forces
Subsistence Activities
Oil Extraction
Mining
War
Cattle Pasture
Fuelwood, Roads, Climate
Population & Poverty

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Kids version of this section
- Why are rainforests disappearing?
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- Poverty


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