Lesson 2: Environmental resources


Deforestation is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and wood lands. The FAO ( Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) defines tropical deforestation as “ change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover more than 90% depletion of forest tree crown cover less than 90% is considered forest degradation.

One of the serious environmental problems is forest degradation due to timber extraction and dependence on fuel wood. Trees on our planet are being depleted at a very fast rate.

Although humans have been practicing deforestation since ages, it was in the mid-1800s that forests began to be destroyed at an unprecedented rate According to some estimates, more than 50 percent of the tree cover has disappeared due to human activity. One of the most worrying factors today is the massive destruction of the rainforests of the world, which is affecting the biodiversity adversely.


Over the last half century, forests have been subjected to overexploitation, degradation and encroachment due to several reasons:

  • Collection of firewood and charcoal

  • Overgrazing and long traveling distances

  • Construction of dams and roads

  • Forest fires

  • Mangrove felling for building materials

  • Farming and agriculture

  • Mining

  • Urbanization, industrialization, population growth

  • Poverty illicit trade

  • Certain government policies

Last modified: Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 6:32 AM