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Library The direct and underlying causes of forest loss

The direct and underlying causes of forest loss

The direct and underlying causes of forest loss

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Date of publication
December 2002
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This paper assesses the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation and the forces behind unsustainable agriculture. It demonstrates the far-reaching consequences of globalisation, in terms of land tenure policies and inequalities. It examines consumption and production patterns and the global problem with many actors. It further looks at the burden of the military on the worlds forest resources.Causes of deforestation: major international economic phenomena, such as macro-economic strategies which provide a strong incentive for short-term profit-making instead of long-term sustain abilitydeep-rooted social structures, which result in inequalities in land tenure, discrimination against indigenous peoples, subsistence farmers and poor people in generalpolitical factors such as the lack of participatory democracy, the influence of the military and the exploitation of rural areas by urban elitesoverconsumption by consumers in high-income countries constitutes another of the major underlying causes of deforestationuncontrolled industrialisation, with widespread pollution resulting in acid rainThe paper demonstrates that it is important to realise that deforestation and forest degradation are not "technical" issues. Forests are disappearing because a number of interlinked international and national policies prepare the ground for it to happen. It is therefore at that level that solutions must be found. In addition, it is crucial to reach out to the public at large in order to ensure that such changes are actually implemented in a way that both humanity as a whole and the people living in the forest areas benefit from them equally.

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