From Paper to Palm Oil: The Leading Causes of Deforestation in 2023

From Paper to Palm Oil: The Leading Causes of Deforestation in 2023

Forests cover a third of our planet’s land surface, but at the current rate of deforestation, we could lose much of this invaluable cover in the near future. Trees play a vital role in the carbon cycle: they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which prevents global temperatures from spiking and provides the oxygen that all living things need to breathe. Forests are the habitat of more than two-thirds of birds and all land animals. The environmental problem of deforestation could become a catastrophe if humanity does not sustainably manage forests and agriculture. 

Over the past century, forest cover worldwide has been significantly compromised and green cover has fallen to a record low of about 30 percent. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 18 million acres of forest are lost each year.

Deforestation can also be seen as deforestation, which leads to various ecological and environmental imbalances. Deforestation is concerned about the immediate and long-term effects that are bound to occur if it continues at the current rate. 

According to some predictions, if deforestation continues at the current rate, the world’s tropical forests will disappear.

What Is The Difference Between Tree Felling And Deforestation

Tree felling is an important part of many industrial and agricultural practices. From 1990 to 2015, the net global loss of forested area was 129 million hectares. We are now losing a whopping 3.3 million hectares per year.

However, a systematic critique of tree felling must be nuanced: there is a difference between “tree felling” and “deforestation.” We define deforestation as the irreversible loss of forest and vegetation cover, while tree felling can also include those that are not necessarily lost forever.

If you look around, you are likely to find pieces of furniture made of wood as well as paper on your desk. Some countries that promote forest conservation also sustainably grow trees that are cut down to produce these wood products. The trees are only temporarily lost as they eventually regrow in well-organized cycles. This is called forestry – it accounts for about 26% of the trees cut down each year.

What are the main causes of deforestation?

Agricultural activities

As mentioned earlier in the review, agricultural activities are one of the important factors affecting deforestation. According to studies, agriculture causes about 80% of deforestation.


Livestock farming is thought to account for about 14% of deforestation in the world. Farmers often clear land by cutting down trees and burning them to raise livestock and food. They continue to use the property until the soil is completely destroyed and repeat the same process in a new forest area.

Illegal logging

Apart from the production of paper, matches, furniture and so on, the timber industry also requires a significant supply of wood. Wood is used as fuel both directly and indirectly.

For this reason, trees are cut down to meet the demand for supplies. Firewood and charcoal are examples of wood used as fuel. Some of these industries thrive on illegal logging and felling.


In addition, roads are being built to access these forests; here again, trees are being cut down to build roads. As with urban expansion, overpopulation directly affects forest cover, more land is needed for housing and settlements.

Desertification of the Earth

Some of the other factors that lead to deforestation are also partly natural and partly anthropogenic, such as soil desertification. This occurs due to improper land management and is not suitable for the growth of trees. Many petrochemical industries dump waste into rivers, causing soil erosion and making it unsuitable for growing plants and trees.


Oil and coal extraction requires large areas of forests. In addition, roads and highways must be built to make room for trucks and other machinery. Waste from mining pollutes the environment and affects the species living in the surrounding area.

Forest fires

Another worthy example is forest fires; Hundreds of trees are killed every year due to forest fires in different parts of the world. This happens due to very hot summers and milder winters. Fires, whether caused by man or nature, cause a great loss of forest cover.


According to research, the paper discarded each year consists of approximately 640 million trees. America, China, Canada, Canada, Japan produce more than the world’s paper production which is 400 million tons per year.

If we recycle it, it will prevent 27.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. If we use recycled paper, we will allow forests to remain a viable ecosystem and wildlife habitat.

Excess population

More land is needed to open up overcrowded housing and settlements. This creates an important need for food and farmland to grow food and livestock. This automatically requires many more roads and highways for transportation and communication, resulting in deforestation. The logging industry cuts down trees to make furniture, paper, building materials and much more.

Consequences of deforestation

Uncontrolled deforestation has a negative impact on climatic, environmental and socio-economic indicators, while significantly reducing the quality of life.

The main adverse impacts are summarized below:

  • Deforestation reduces the amount of oxygen produced by trees. It is also known that a large number of forests leads to better air purification;
  • The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is increasing. This is what is blamed for global warming;
  • Gradual deforestation is the cause of the decline in biodiversity. Many living organisms are disappearing;
  • Desertification and the formation of swamps. Trees not only prevent the leaching of the fertile layer, but also prevent increased soil moisture;
  • Most scientists agree that the most serious consequences of deforestation can be considered the increase of the greenhouse effect and climate change. After all, green areas diligently maintain the climate, mitigating it.

Sustainable development

Many organizations are calling for better land use policies as a result of this ongoing challenge.

Food security and sustainable forest management are central to both Goal 2 and Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals. But forests are disappearing.

The world’s population is growing all the time, and with it the demand for resources – timber, fiber, fuel, food, feed and medicine – is growing. According to UN experts, by 2050 the demand for wood will triple to 10 billion cubic meters. Global population growth will require an increase in agricultural production, which will lead to the conversion of forested areas into arable land and will become one of the main drivers of deforestation, especially in tropical and low-income countries.

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