Massive deforestation—the clearing of Earth’s forests, including the rain forests—has limited Earth’s natural ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis.
Forests are destroyed for a variety of reasons: fuel, land development, and precious woods, for example.
Deforestation also increases soil erosion, clogging streams and lakes with silt. Deforestation causes the land to heat and cool more quickly than before, which creates vast changes in Earth’s interconnected weather system.
Many animals are left without habitats or food sources when forests are cleared—especially in the rain forest where the number and variety of animal life exceeds that of any other place on Earth, except in the ocean.
From 1980 to 1990, over 48 million acres of forest on 3 continents have been destroyed.