Deforestation T-Shirt

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The Causes and Effects of Deforestation Around the World

Deforestation refers to the clearing or removal of trees from forested land. It is an ongoing global issue that poses a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems around the world. Approximately 7.6 million hectares of forest are lost each year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s an area about the size of Panama being cleared annually. Since 1990, the world has lost 420 million hectares of forest, an area larger than India.

What is Deforestation and How Widespread is it?

Deforestation is defined as the conversion of forested land to non-forested land use, such as agriculture, urban development, logging, or minig. Clearing forests can involve cutting down all vegetation in an area or selectively logging mature trees while leaving smaller trees intact. Both types of deforestation have damaging impacts.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, over 80% of the world’s natural forests have already been cleared or degraded. The regions that have seen the most extensive deforestation over the past century are South America and Africa. Brazil saw 287,000 square kilometers of forest loss from 2004 to 2017 in the Amazon alone. Indonesia and Malaysia have the highest rates of tropical deforestation, largely due to the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations.

Some key global statistics on deforestation rates and extent:

  • Since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been cleared worldwide – this is about the size of India
  • In just the last 60 years, over 50% of the world’s rainforests have been destroyed
  • Current net annual loss of forest area is estimated at 7.6 million hectares per year
  • The Amazon rainforest has seen 20% of its forest lost in the past 40 years
  • Indonesia lost 24% of its old-growth rainforest between 2000 to 2012

Deforestation matters because forests are more than just trees – they are complex ecosystems that sustain wildlife, regulate climate, supply oxygen, prevent flooding, and support human livelihoods. The rapid loss of forests around the world thus has devastating environmental and human consequences.

Major Causes of Deforestation

Deforestation is driven by a variety of factors, but the primary causes are:


  • Logging for timber, pulpwood, and fuelwood is a major driver of forest loss worldwide. Both legal and illegal logging contribute significantly to deforestation.
  • Unsustainable logging practices often clear cut old growth forests completely rather than selectively harvesting trees.
  • Logging roads built to access remote forests open the way for other land clearing activities.

Agricultural Expansion

  • Clearing forests for agriculture is the main cause of permanent deforestation, particularly in the tropics.
  • Cattle ranching has driven 70% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef.
  • Palm oil expansion is destroying tropical forests in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Cash Crop Plantations

  • Commodities like soy, cocoa, and rubber require extensive land for cultivation and drive extensive deforestation.
  • Soybean expansion for livestock feed and biofuels is responsible for massive deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado regions of Brazil.

Mining Operations

  • Mining for gold, diamonds, oil, and other minerals requires clearing forest overlying deposits. Road building for mines also opens forests to other land uses.
  • Oil and gas extraction can fragment forest habitat and introduce roads that lead to further encroachment. This is an issue in Canada’s boreal forests.

Infrastructure & Urbanization

  • Road building, transportation projects, hydroelectric dams, and urban sprawl all lead to deforestation and fragmentation.
  • For example, China’s Belt and Road initiative is spurring infrastructure development across SE Asia, opening forests to clearing in the process.

Forest Fires

  • Both wildfires and intentional burning of forests for land-clearing contribute to deforestation, especially in peatlands.
  • Fires are natural disturbances in many forest ecosystems, but climate change is increasing fire risk worldwide.

The specific drivers of deforestation vary by region, but ultimately originate from human economic activities and consumption demands. Most deforestation is permanent land conversion rather than temporary tree removal.

The Most Deforested Areas Around the World

While deforestation is occurring across the globe, there are several hotspot regions that have seen the most extensive forest loss and degradation:

The Amazon Rainforest

  • The Amazon basin contains the world’s largest tropical rainforest, spanning 9 countries in South America.
  • 20% of the Amazon has been deforested in the past 40 years, with losses accelerating in the 2000s.
  • Cattle ranching is responsible for an estimated 65-70% of Amazon deforestation. Soybean farming, logging, fires, roads, dams, and mining also contribute.

Indonesia and Malaysia

  • The tropical forests of these countries have been extensively cleared for palm oil plantations to meet global demand.
  • Between 2000-2012, Indonesia lost 24% of its old growth rainforest cover. Malaysia saw 14% loss.
  • Orangutan habitat has been severely impacted. An estimated 2 million hectares of Indonesian forest were cleared for palm oil between 2015 and 2017 alone.

West Africa

  • The tropical forests of West Africa have been heavily impacted by logging, with 80-90% loss in some areas.
  • Clearing for small-scale agriculture by shifting cultivators also contributes to deforestation.
  • Ghana and the Ivory Coast have been major hotspots of deforestation driven by cocoa farming expansion.

Canada’s Boreal Forests

  • Canada has 10% of the world’s remaining intact forests, with 2/3 in the northern boreal region.
  • 1 million hectares are disturbed annually, mostly by logging but also by oil and gas and mining operations.
  • Road building for industry provides access for illegal logging and threatens intact forest areas.


  • Russia contains the world’s largest area of boreal forest, called the taiga.
  • Uncontrolled logging, fires, and mining have degraded Russia’s intact forests.
  • Every year, about 500,000 hectares of forest disappear, an area the size of Costa Rica.

Many of the world’s threatened forests harbor high levels of biodiversity and unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Once lost, these complex ecosystems are impossible to get back.

The Effects of Deforestation on the Environment

Deforestation has significant negative impacts on the environment both locally and globally:

Climate Change

  • Forests sequester and store large amounts of carbon. Clearing forests releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
  • The burning and decomposition of cleared forests account for 10-15% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than all cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.

Soil Erosion and Flooding

  • Tree roots anchor soil and prevent rainfall runoff and nutrient loss. Removing vegetation leaves soil unstable and prone to erosion.
  • Deforestation can increase soil erosion by up to 30x compared to an intact forest. The resulting siltation damages aquatic ecosystems.
  • Without trees to intercept rainfall, flooding risks downstream increase substantially.

Biodiversity Loss

  • Tropical rainforests contain 50-80% of the world’s terrestrial species. Deforestation destroys habitat and threatens extinction for these species.
  • Half of all plants and animals on earth live in tropical forests occupying just 6% of the planet’s land surface. Their loss is a major blow to global biodiversity.

Altered Weather Patterns

  • Large-scale deforestation can alter precipitation patterns and temperatures on a regional scale.
  • Models show Amazon deforestation will substantially reduce rainfall and lengthen the dry season over South America.

By disturbing carbon storage, hydrological cycles, climate patterns and reducing biodiversity, deforestation has multi-faceted detrimental impacts on ecological health and ecosystem services people rely on. The effects are felt locally and globally.

Deforestation Effects on Indigenous Communities

Indigenous communities are often most directly impacted when forests they rely on are degraded and destroyed:

  • Displacement – Road-building and clearing for mines, dams, plantations, etc. force indigenous groups off ancestral lands. The result is loss of livelihoods, poverty and cultural devastation.
  • Public Health Crises – Pollution from mining and pesticides, unsafe water supplies, and reduced food security negatively impact the health of forest-dependent peoples.
  • Loss of Resources – Deforestation threatens traditional food sources like wild game, fish, fruits and medicines that indigenous groups subsist on. Finding alternatives is difficult.
  • Cultural Devastation – Forests represent the spiritual center of life for many indigenous cultures. Deforestation undermines belief systems, traditional knowledge, and ceremonies tied to the land.

In the Amazon, over 50 groups have gone extinct due to contact with miners, loggers and other encroachers on their lands. Many others, like Brazil’s Awá , are currently under threat and could disappear if deforestation continues unabated.

Globally, researchers estimate over 50 million indigenous people are directly affected by deforestation on their communal forest lands. The impacts to their ways of life and livelihoods are often irreversible.

Solutions and Efforts to Slow Deforestation

While the deforestation crisis is daunting, there are measures that can help preserve forests into the future:

  • Forest Protection Policies – Many countries now have laws restricting clearing of primary forests and endangered species habitat. Enforcement is often lax but regulations are an important first step.
  • Moratoriums – Some countries have enacted moratoriums on clearing certain high conservation value forests. Indonesia enacted a moratorium on new palm oil plantation licenses in primary forests in 2011.
  • Reforestation Projects – Native tree replanting projects help restore degraded lands and reconnect fragmented forests. China’s Grain for Green program aims to reforest 40 million hectares by 2050.
  • Sustainable Forestry – Selective logging where only mature trees are thinned can sustain timber yields while minimizing ecosystem damage. Forest certification programs like FSC promote sustainability.
  • Reducing Beef Consumption – Global dietary shifts away from beef could reduce pressures for cattle pasture expansion in the Amazon and other frontiers.
  • Avoiding Unsustainable Palm Oil – Consumers can purchase products certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to reduce demand for palm oil causing deforestation.
  • Supporting Community Forest Rights – Granting indigenous communities formal land tenure rights helps them sustainably manage forests. Overlapping protected areas with indigenous territories can aid conservation.

While deforestation remains an urgent threat, coordinated efforts between governments, landowners, businesses, indigenous peoples and consumers can help protect the world’s remaining forests for generations to come.


In conclusion, deforestation is an ongoing global problem with devastating environmental and human consequences. From biodiversity loss to climate change to indigenous displacement, the impacts are deeply concerning. However, by strengthening forest protection policies, supporting sustainable forestry, reforming agricultural supply chains, and restoring degraded lands, it is possible to curb deforestation rates in the coming decades. Addressing both the supply and demand drivers of deforestation requires coordination between governments, businesses, communities and consumers worldwide. With commitment and effort, we can help ensure the world’s remaining forests are valued and protected as critical ecosystems intertwined with human well-being.

International Day of Forests

The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Forests on the 21st day of March.

Each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

On International Day of Forests, countries undertake efforts to organise local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees.

The International Day of Forests was observed for the first time on March 21, 2013.

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Make a Statement With The Deforestation T-Shirt

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the devastating impacts of deforestation around the world. Loss of critical habitat, climate change, indigenous displacement – the consequences are wide-ranging. While the problem seems daunting, there are meaningful actions each of us can take in our daily lives to protect forests.

One way to spread awareness is by sporting the new Deforestation T-Shirt.

Wearing this t-shirt is a great conversation starter about the deforestation crisis. It shows you care about protecting ecosystems and indigenous cultures. You can make a statement without saying a word.

Make your voice heard on this pressing issue.


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This t-shirt is everything you've dreamed of and more. It feels soft and lightweight, with the right amount of stretch. It's comfortable and flattering for both men and women.

• 100% combed and ring-spun cotton (Heather colors contain polyester)
• Ash color is 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Heather colors are 52% combed and ring-spun cotton, 48% polyester
• Athletic and Black Heather are 90% combed and ring-spun cotton, 10% polyester
• Heather Prism colors are 99% combed and ring-spun cotton, 1% polyester
• Fabric weight: 4.2 oz (142 g/m2)
• Pre-shrunk fabric
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Side-seamed

1 review for Deforestation T-Shirt

  1. william (verified owner)

    The t-shirt is made of a very good material, the print is of very good quality and soft to the touch.
    Very satisfied.

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