The Effects of Cutting Down Trees on the Ecosystem

Cutting down trees is necessary to produce wood for construction, paper and other applications, but logging and other activities that kill trees can potentially lead to negative impacts on ecosystems and the environment as a whole.

stack of logs
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Cutting down trees can lead to negative effects on the ecosystem.

Significance

Deforestation
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Deforestation can encourage global warming.

Large scale tree cutting can lead to deforestation, a transformation of an area from forest to terrain with little vegetation. Plants create oxygen and absorb greenhouse gases. The destruction of trees may, therefore, encourage global warming. Changing temperatures can alter which organisms can survive in an ecosystem.

Effects

Howler monkey hanging by the tail, Colombia
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Deforestation leads to a loss of habitat for animal species.

Cutting trees can result in the loss of habitat for animal species, which can harm ecosystems. According to National Geographic, "70 percent of Earth's land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes."

Considerations

Primary rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon
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The Amazon rain forest.

Tropical forests like the Amazon rain forest promote a cycle of evaporation and rainfall. Loss of the rain forests could result in warmer and drier climates near the tropics, according to NASA, which could destroy ecosystems that many animal and plants depend on.