Deforestation is the removal of forest in order to use the land for other purposes; such as farming, ranching or urban development; or the removal of forest in order to use the wood for building, goods or fuel.
Air quality is actually reduced two-fold by deforestation. First, the trees are no longer there to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. While up to 90% of oxygen is actually released by algae (trees use as much oxygen as they produce during decomposition), forests filter as much as 20% of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) out of our air.
Secondly, the tools and fuels used to remove the forests are creating even more greenhouse gasses. Much of the forests are being burned, which releases the previously filtered carbon dioxide back into the air.
The soil which these massive trees' roots once ran through is seriously impacted by deforestation. The roots absorbed water from the soil which was then released back into the air. When the roots are gone, there is nothing to absorb and re-release the water. This contributes to loss of top soil, drought conditions, erosion and landslides.
The Meredian Large White Butterfly, extinct in 2007 due to the destruction of its habitat.
The Javan Tiger, extinct in 1979 due to agricultural development.
Some of the forests being destroyed have never before been explored by humans. There is no telling what cures for diseases could be found or what animals will be extinct before they're ever discovered.
Some 120 prescription drugs sold worldwide today are derived directly from rainforest plants. And according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, more than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants, although less than 1% of plants have been tested for medicinal properties. The cure for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, etc. could be out there or could already have been destroyed forever.
Forests, especially rainforests, are a delicate ecosystem. Once the trees are destroyed, the other plants and animals that relied on those trees are soon extinct.
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