CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION
1. Agriculture: People living near the rainforests sometimes cut down the trees in order to create farms for the cultivation of crops. On a larger scale, in some countries whole groups of people move from place to place around the forest, clearing the trees in order to use the land for agriculture. The process of cutting down trees and burning bush in order to clear the land for farming, is known as "slash and burn".
The farmers find that the rainforest's soil is very fertile at first, but as time progresses, these farmers encounter the same problems as the cash crop growers, i.e. the soil loses its fertility and health due to poor farming methods. This causes the farmers to move on, going deeper into the rainforest and destroying more and more of it.
2. Commercial Logging: Logging simply means cutting down forest trees for wood. Commercial logging companies cut down mature trees that have been selected for their timber. Wood is used for many things, including building, making furniture, and as firewood.
Selective logging is a process of cutting down large trees that are old enough to die and good enough to use for building and furniture. The logging companies justify their action by saying that this method of "selective" logging ensures that the forest regrows naturally, and in time is once again ready for their "safe" logging practices. However, the felling of one "selected" tree tears down with it climbers, vines, epiphytes and lianas. A large hole is left in the canopy and complete regeneration of the forest in this area can take hundreds of years. Also, the tracks made by heavy machinery and the clearings left behind by loggers (where the trees used to be), are sites of extreme soil disturbance which begin to erode in heavy rain. This causes silt (fine sand) and topsoil which is rich in nutrients, to wash away into rivers and streams, which in turn can suffocate the fish and other organisms in the water.