Disappearing Forests

Can the world's woodlands be saved?

  • By:Doug Struck
  • Content Type: Report
  • Publisher: CQ Press
    • Publication year: 2011
    • Online pub date:
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/cqrglobal20110118


As the U.N. celebrates the International Year of Forests to promote forest conservation, thousands of square miles of the planet's woodlands are destroyed each year to make way for sprawling suburbs, palm oil and soybean plantations, cattle ranches and farms. Experts say deforestation threatens a delicate balance in which forests act as Earth's lungs: absorbing carbon dioxide — the biggest contributor to climate change — and expelling oxygen. Now, scientists say, deforestation could soon release enormous amounts of carbon gases stored in the trees, undergrowth and melting permafrost. Such a “carbon bomb,” experts warn, would exacerbate climate change, triggering even more deforestation and threatening a variety of crucial environmental functions forests perform, such as air and water purification, erosion prevention, rain production and the creation ...

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