Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects

Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something besides forest. Deforestation can include clearing the land for farming or livestock, or using the timber for fuel, construction or manufacturing. 

Forests cover more than 30% of the Earth’s land surface, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). These forested areas produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), and are home to an estimated 80% of Earth’s terrestrial species. Forests also are a source of  food, medicine and fuel for more than a billion people. Worldwide, forests provide 13.4 million people with jobs in the forest sector, and another 41 million people have jobs related to forests. 

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