25 Animals Affected By Deforestation
Explore the untold effects of deforestation on animal habitats. Learn how it fragments ecosystems and what you can do to help.
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25 Animals Affected By Deforestation
Explore the untold effects of deforestation on animal habitats. Learn how it fragments ecosystems and what you can do to help.
Published:
Last updated:
Loading reading time...
25 Animals Affected By Deforestation
Explore the untold effects of deforestation on animal habitats. Learn how it fragments ecosystems and what you can do to help.
Reviewed by Rob Boyle
Published:
Last updated:
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What animals are affected by deforestation?

Deforestation doesn’t just harm trees. It has a ripple effect on Earth’s ecological system. 

This article highlights the impact of deforestation on animals, their habitat loss, and its effect on climate change. We’ll also suggest conservation strategies to mitigate these effects.‍

What animals are affected by deforestation? An illustration depicting a barren landscape with a setting sun. On the left, there's a pile of chopped logs. In the centre, two withered trees stand tall. To the right, a lone, distressed Gorilla lies in a small, drying puddle, surrounded by cracked earth."

Negative impacts of deforestation on animal life

Deforestation refers to the extensive removal of trees and clearing of lands to accommodate:

  • Urban expansion
  • Land for farming
  • Agricultural activities
  • Palm oil plantations
  • Mining operations
  • Other human activities related to sustenance, animal feed, and habitation

Its consequences affect various aspects, from local ecology to global climate.

Additionally, forest degradation is a pressing issue, weakening forest landscapes and diminishing their ability to support wildlife populations.

Alarmingly, millions of hectares of forest are lost or degraded each year. Deforestation monitoring is crucial in preserving our planet’s ecological balance.

Map highlighting the areas of deforestation in the Amazon between 1988-2012. The Brazilian Amazon is prominently marked, with areas of tree cover measured in 2016
In 2019, The Economist wrote that the Amazon was facing an ‘irreversible tipping point’

Biodiversity impact: what animals are affected by deforestation?

The range of biodiversity present in these forest ecosystems represents a significant casualty. Ecosystem collapse and habitat loss put many animals on the brink of extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is a vital source of information on extinction risk statuses. 

It is sad to say that more than 42,100 species are threatened with extinction. (28% of all assessed species). Below, I will discuss just a small group of these endangered species.

Mammals: a battle for existence

Multiple species are on the brink of extinction due to depleted habitats, hunting grounds, and resources.

The vulnerability of larger animals, such as tigers and elephants, increases due to their dependence on extensive habitats for sustenance.

As natural environments dwindle or vanish, animals are driven towards human territory. Increased contact with humans gives rise to possible clashes and intensifies risks to existence.

Sumatran tiger prowling in the grass, displaying its sharp teeth and vibrant orange coat with dark stripes, in a dense jungle setting.

Sumatran Tiger

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris sumatrae
Habitat: Tropical Forests, Peatlands
Range: Sumatra, Indonesia
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, poaching, human conflict
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

The Sumatran Tiger is native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is critically endangered largely due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation. 

Logging, agricultural expansion, and human settlements have severely impacted their natural habitat. 

These solitary big cats rely on dense forest cover to stalk their prey and raise their young. With diminishing habitats, they are forced closer to human activities, increasing the risk of human-tiger conflicts. 

Poaching for their skin, bones, and other body parts for the illegal wildlife trade also remains a significant threat. 

Conservation efforts, such as anti-poaching laws and habitat restoration, are essential but currently insufficient to halt their decline.

Chimpanzee sitting on a rock, curiously observing its surroundings, with its dark fur and expressive facial features highlighted against a forested background.

Chimpanzee

Scientific Name: Pan troglodytes
Habitat: Tropical Forests
Range: Central and West Africa
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, fragmentation, and human encroachment
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Chimpanzees are native to Central and West Africa’s tropical forests. Due to deforestation, their natural habitat is shrinking at an alarming rate. This is primarily caused by logging, agricultural expansion, and human settlement. 

These intelligent primates rely heavily on the forest for food, shelter, and social structures. The loss of habitat leads to fragmentation of Chimpanzee communities, making it challenging for them to find food, mate, and avoid predators.

Unlike other species, Chimpanzees have complex social systems and tool-use behaviours deeply rooted in their forest homes. This makes habitat loss particularly detrimental. 

Conservation efforts are underway but must be intensified to protect these endangered relatives of humans.

Mature orangutan hanging from a tree branch, showcasing its long arms and reddish-brown fur, against a lush green forest backdrop.

Orangutan

Scientific Name: Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii
Habitat: Tropical Forests
Range: Indonesia and Malaysia
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, fragmentation, illegal wildlife trade
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (Bornean), Endangered (Sumatran)

Orangutans, primarily found in the tropical forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, are critically endangered due to rampant deforestation. 

The primary driver of their habitat loss is the expansion of palm oil plantations and other forms of agriculture and human development. 

Orangutans share 96.4% of their DNA with humans, yet this close relative faces an existential threat. The slow reproductive rates of females, who give birth every 3-5 years, exacerbate their decline. Conservation efforts are imperative to halt their march towards extinction.

Giant panda munching on bamboo leaves, its distinctive black and white fur contrasting with the green foliage surrounding it.

Giant Panda

Scientific Name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Habitat: Mountain Forests
Range: China
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, fragmentation
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

The Giant Panda, an icon of conservation, is native to the mountain forests of China. 

Despite a status upgrade from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable,’ these mammals still face habitat loss and fragmentation challenges. 

Once inhabiting lowland regions, deforestation and human activities like farming have confined them to mountainous zones and conservation sites. Ongoing efforts to preserve their habitat must continue to ensure their survival.

Asian elephant walking gracefully through a grassy field, its large ears flapping, and a serene expression on its face, with a backdrop of distant mountains.

Asian Elephant

Scientific Name: Elephas maximus borneensis (Bornean), Loxodonta cyclotis (African forest)
Habitat: Forests
Range: Borneo, parts of Africa
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered (Bornean), Data Deficient (African forest)

The Pygmy Elephant, the smallest elephant species, is found in parts of Africa and on the island of Borneo. Removing acres of forest for agricultural expansion, particularly for plantations, poses a grave risk to their survival. 

The species is critically endangered, with an estimated population of less than 1,500 remaining in the wild.

Their large size belies their vulnerability to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict. The diminishing forests also make them an easier target for poachers seeking their tusks.

Jaguar stealthily moving through a tropical rainforest, its powerful muscles evident under its golden coat with dark rosettes.

Jaguar

Scientific Name: Panthera onca
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests, Swamps, Grasslands
Range: Central and South America
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened

The Jaguar, predominantly found in the rainforests of Latin America, faces significant threats from deforestation and habitat fragmentation. 

Once ranging extensively across the Americas, Jaguars are confined to increasingly isolated forest patches. 

A primary factor for their decline is habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and human settlements. 

Moreover, as top predators, they are vital for maintaining the health and diversity of their ecosystems. The near-threatened status of Jaguars signals an urgent need for targeted conservation efforts to protect these majestic animals and their diminishing habitats.

Birds: songs silenced in the forest

Many avian species rely on the ecological niche offered by forested land. The destruction of trees causes numerous avian species to lose suitable habitats.

Forest-dependent bird species exhibit specialised habits and adaptations. This increases their susceptibility to the adverse effects of habitat degradation and destruction. 

The effects include population decreases, loss of unique behaviours, and the potential extinction of certain species.

Majestic Harpy Eagle perched on a tall tree branch, showcasing its striking black and white plumage and powerful beak.

Harpy Eagle

Scientific Name: Harpia harpyja
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests
Range: Central and South America
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, hunting
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened

The Harpy Eagle, native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, is suffering from widespread deforestation. 

This apex predator requires large, contiguous forest areas to hunt. Still, habitat loss and fragmentation make survival increasingly difficult for the species. 

Their critical role in controlling populations of smaller animals is vital for maintaining ecological balance.

Javan Hawk-Eagle in flight, its wings spread wide against a blue sky, highlighting its reddish-brown feathers and intense gaze.

Javan Hawk-Eagle

Scientific Name: Nisaetus bartelsi
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests
Range: Java, Indonesia
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, pet trade
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Endemic to the Indonesian island of Java, the Javan Hawk-Eagle faces severe threats from deforestation and the illegal pet trade. 

This bird of prey relies on the island’s rapidly diminishing tropical forests for hunting and nesting. Conservation efforts are critical for this endangered species.

Philippine Eagle resting on a rocky outcrop, its large crest of feathers on full display, set against a lush rainforest background.

Philippine Eagle

Scientific Name: Pithecophaga jefferyi
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests
Range: Philippines
Vulnerabilities: Habitat destruction, hunting
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

The Philippine Eagle, one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey, is critically endangered due to extensive deforestation in its native habitat. 

With fewer places to nest and hunt, this majestic eagle faces an uphill battle for survival. Immediate and aggressive conservation efforts are necessary to prevent extinction.

Yellow-eared Parrot perched on a wooden post, its vibrant green feathers contrasting with its namesake yellow ears, with a blurred forest backdrop.

Yellow-eared Parrot

Scientific Name: Ognorhynchus icterotis
Habitat: Andean Cloud Forests
Range: Colombia, Ecuador
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, hunting
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Found in the Andean cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the Yellow-eared Parrot faces endangerment primarily due to habitat loss from deforestation. 

Essential for seed dispersion, this parrot plays a crucial role in its ecosystem, making its survival crucial for the health of its habitat.

Forest Owlet looking directly at the camera, its round face and deep black eyes capturing the essence of its nocturnal nature, set in a dense woodland setting.

Forest Owlet

Scientific Name: Heteroglaux blewitti
Habitat: Deciduous Forests
Range: Central India
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, hunting
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

The Forest Owlet, native to the deciduous forests of Central India, is critically endangered mainly due to habitat loss from logging and conversion to agriculture. 

Given its limited range and diminishing numbers, urgent conservation measures are needed.

Alagoas Curassow walking through a grassy meadow, its glossy black plumage shimmering in the sunlight, with a few trees in the background.

Alagoas Curassow

Scientific Name: Mitu mitu
Habitat: Atlantic Forests
Range: Brazil
Vulnerabilities: Habitat destruction, hunting
IUCN Red List Status: Extinct in the Wild

The Alagoas Curassow, initially found in Brazil’s Atlantic Forests, is now considered extinct in the wild. This devastating status is due to extreme habitat loss and hunting. 

Currently, efforts are being made to reintroduce the species from captive populations.

Amphibians: vulnerable ecosystem defenders

Frogs and salamanders are organisms with heightened sensory perception that are commonly observed inhabiting forested environments or in close proximity to such ecosystems. 

These organisms rely on leaf litter and water features to establish nesting sites and ensure their safety,

Amphibians have a heightened susceptibility to the adverse effects of deforestation, including water pollution, temperature fluctuations, and humidity levels.

The loss of forests exacerbates the already precarious condition of numerous amphibian species.

Golden Toad perched on a moss-covered rock, its vibrant yellow-orange skin standing out against the dark green surroundings.

Golden Toad

Scientific Name: Incilius periglenes
Habitat: Montane Cloud Forests
Range: Costa Rica
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, climate change
IUCN Red List Status: Extinct

The Golden Toad was native to the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica and was last seen in 1989. 

Its extinction is primarily attributed to deforestation and climate change. This brightly coloured amphibian was a cautionary tale about the rapid biodiversity loss due to human actions.

Harlequin Toad resting on a leaf, its unique black and bright coloured patterns making it easily distinguishable from its environment.

Harlequin Toad

Scientific Name: Atelopus varius
Habitat: Tropical Forests
Range: Central and South America
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, disease
IUCN Red List Status: Various species are Critically Endangered

Harlequin Toads, comprising various species, are primarily found in Central and South America’s tropical forests. 

The Harlequin Toad’s striking colours belie its vulnerability. Deforestation has led to habitat loss and fragmentation, while pollution from agricultural runoff has poisoned its home streams. 

Conservation efforts are ongoing but face many challenges, including illegal hunting for the pet trade.

Panamanian Golden Frog sitting beside a clear stream, its radiant gold and black markings reflecting in the shimmering water.

Panamanian Golden Frog

Scientific Name: Atelopus zeteki
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests, Streams
Range: Panama
Vulnerabilities: Habitat destruction, disease, pollution
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

This brightly coloured frog is native to the rainforests of Panama. Deforestation and habitat destruction have severely impacted its natural habitat. 

Additionally, the chytrid fungus disease and pollution from agricultural runoff pose significant threats. Intense conservation efforts, including captive breeding, are underway.

This species, a symbol of good luck in Panamanian culture, now primarily exists in captivity.

Hellbender submerged in a rocky streambed, its slimy brown skin blending with the stones as it hunts for prey.

Hellbender

Scientific Name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
Habitat: Freshwater Rivers
Range: Eastern United States
Vulnerabilities: Habitat degradation, pollution
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened

The Hellbender is a large salamander native to the United States that relies on clean, fast-flowing streams.

These amphibians serve as indicators of entire ecosystem health, making their declining numbers a concern for broader biodiversity.

The Hellbender is suffering from habitat degradation due to deforestation, which leads to increased sedimentation and water pollution. These factors have contributed to its near-threatened status.

Mountain Chicken Frog leaping from one wet rock to another, capturing its strong legs and distinct markings in mid-motion.

Mountain Chicken Frog

Scientific Name: Leptodactylus fallax
Habitat: Forests, Grasslands
Range: Caribbean
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, disease
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

Found in the Caribbean, the Mountain Chicken Frog has seen its habitat diminish due to deforestation for agriculture and human settlement. It’s also severely affected by the chytrid fungus disease. 

Its distinctive vocalisations are now rarely heard in its native range.

Axolotl swimming gracefully in clear water, its fringed gills and wide-eyed expression showcasing its unique aquatic features.

Axolotl

Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum
Habitat: Lakes
Range: Mexico
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, pollution
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

The Axolotl faces critical endangerment. Native to lakes around Mexico City, these lakes are shrinking due to urbanisation and polluted by waste, making it difficult for Axolotls to survive in their natural habitat.

This fascinating creature, capable of regenerating lost body parts, now primarily exists in captivity.

Effects on marine life

Deforestation’s impact on water quality devastates aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. 

Marine life is additionally negatively impacted by the degradation of forests. Forests can mitigate and regulate water flow through the utilisation of buffering mechanisms. 

Deforestation releases additional sediments and contaminants into the adjacent rivers and oceans, causing detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Consequently, this phenomenon significantly affects the biodiversity of marine life.

Mangrove Jack swimming near the seabed, its silvery body reflecting the sunlight filtering through the water, surrounded by seagrass.

Mangrove Jack

Scientific Name: Lutjanus argentimaculatus
Habitat: Mangrove Forests, Estuaries
Range: Indo-Pacific
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, overfishing
IUCN Red List Status: Data Deficient

The Mangrove Jack is an Indo-Pacific fish species that thrives in mangrove forests and estuaries, areas heavily impacted by deforestation and pollution. 

As juveniles, they rely on the roots of mangrove trees for shelter. These ecosystems are also critical for their food supply, which makes their survival precarious due to ongoing habitat loss.

Vibrant Coral Reef bustling with diverse marine life, showcasing a range of colourful corals, tiny fish darting between the crevices, and anemones swaying with the current.

Coral Reefs

Habitat: Shallow Tropical Waters
Range: Global
Vulnerabilities: Ocean acidification, temperature changes, overfishing
IUCN Red List Status: Various species at risk

Coral Reefs are not a single species but an ecosystem home to countless marine animals. They are biodiversity hotspots that are declining due to multiple threats. 

They are particularly susceptible to water quality, which can be compromised by sedimentation caused by deforestation and land use change.

They are not only habitats but also protectors of coastlines, making their health vital for various marine species and human communities.

Dugong gracefully gliding through clear waters, its streamlined body and fluked tail evident as it feeds on seagrass.

Dugong

Scientific Name: Dugong dugon
Habitat: Shallow Seagrass Beds
Range: Indo-Pacific
Vulnerabilities: Seagrass meadow degradation, pollution
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

Dugongs, often called ‘sea cows,’ rely on seagrass meadows for their diet. These meadows are impacted when deforestation leads to sedimentation and pollution in coastal waters. 

Such environmental changes cause declines in seagrass, placing Dugongs at risk of starvation and habitat loss.

Hawksbill Turtle gracefully swimming in clear blue waters, its distinctive shell pattern reflecting the sunlight, surrounded by small fish and coral formations.

Hawksbill Turtle

Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Habitat: Coral Reefs, Coastal Mangroves
Range: Tropical Oceans
Vulnerabilities: Illegal trade, habitat loss
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered

The illegal trade of their shells primarily threatens Hawksbill Turtles. Coastal development and deforestation, which affect water cycles, lead to the loss of nesting and feeding habitats, further endangering marine reptiles.

Green Turtle resting on a coral ledge, its large flippers and serene expression highlighted against the underwater backdrop.

Green Turtle

Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
Habitat: Coastal Seagrass Beds, Beaches
Range: Global
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, illegal trade
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered

Green Turtles face threats similar to their Hawksbill cousins. Additionally, their feeding grounds in seagrass meadows are declining due to sedimentation from deforestation and coastal development.

They rely on beaches for nesting, which are increasingly disturbed by human activity.

Atlantic Tarpon leaping out of the water, capturing the moment its silver scales shimmer against the sunlight, with splashes of water droplets around it.

Atlantic Tarpon

Scientific Name: Megalops atlanticus
Habitat: Estuaries, Freshwater
Range: Atlantic Ocean
Vulnerabilities: Habitat loss, overfishing
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable

Atlantic Tarpon are sport fish that are increasingly threatened due to overfishing. Loss of estuarine habitats, where juveniles grow, is another significant issue. 

These habitats are compromised by mangrove deforestation and water pollution.

How does deforestation affect animal habitats?

The impact of deforestation on animals and their ecosystems has many detrimental effects.

A resting gorilla surrounded by tree stumps and rocks, indicative of recent deforestation.

Fragmentation of forests

Fragmentation of forest ecosystems reduces the viability of numerous species by dividing habitats into scattered patches.

A smaller habitat patch has a limited capacity to support a reduced number of resources. 

As a result, a decrease in genetic diversity can lead to an increased susceptibility to diseases and a higher likelihood of population decline or extinction.

Loss of forest cover and shelter

The canopy layer of the forest, formed by the uppermost branches of towering trees, provides shelter and protection for a wide variety of species. 

Removing this canopy exposes species to environmental stressors and predation. The deprivation of shelter also disrupts the nesting habitats of animals and birds.

Resources for food and water are being destroyed

Apart from providing habitats for various animal species, forests also serve as abundant reservoirs of sustenance and clean water resources. 

Many organisms are malnourished due to the depletion of vital resources such as nuts, fruits, and insects.

Habitat loss

The potential consequence of deforestation is the entire disappearance of optimal habitats for certain species. 

For example, certain arboreal ape species exhibit a complete need for forest ecosystems for survival. If the habitats of these creatures are lost, they are at significant risk of extinction.

The ecological domino effect

Deforestation has a cascading effect, exacerbating the environmental crisis.

Recently fallen tree with a surprised individual witnessing the event against a forested backdrop.

Weakened defences as a result of illness and hunger

Deforestation reduces a species’ ecological niche. This increases disease and malnutrition vulnerability, negatively affecting animal well-being and sustenance.

Deforestation also increases human-animal interactions, increasing the likelihood of zoonotic diseases being transmitted across different species. Deforestation may also increase the frequency of interactions between humans and diverse animal species.

The threat of predation and natural disasters

Vulnerable species are more powerless against predators without the protective cover of the forest. 

Tree cover loss may also make some species vulnerable to natural disasters such as landslides and floods. Such incidents can further decimate the populations of wild animals.

Impacts on climate change

Deforestation significantly influences global climate patterns while also affecting the biodiversity of forest-dwelling organisms. 

Disrupting the carbon cycle

Forests, known as the “respiratory system” of the planet, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis. Unplanned cutting of trees releases stored carbon into the environment, causing the emission of CO2

Carbon emissions elevate global temperatures and disrupt the natural carbon cycle, contributing to global warming. Forest protection is crucial to safeguard planetary well-being and mitigate the climate crisis. 

Therefore, it is essential to conserve forests to minimise these effects.

Extreme weather events

The destruction of forests has the potential to disrupt weather patterns. 

Trees play a key role in regulating temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Disruptions can have significant impacts on precipitation patterns as well as the frequency and intensity of meteorological events and wildfires.

Subsequently, this phenomenon can impact the quality of life, agricultural practices, and availability of water supplies within nearby towns.

An illustration depicting a forest fire with blazing flames consuming a fallen log and surrounding trees.

Conservation techniques

We need thorough and successful conservation strategies to counter the effects of deforestation and its catastrophic consequences. Here are some crucial strategies:

  1. Biodiversity strongholds established as protected areas
  2. Reforestation and Afforestation
  3. Adapt Sustainable Logging Practices
  4. Community Engagement
  5. Collaboration with international organisations
  6. Consumer Education

Biodiversity strongholds established as protected areas

Protected areas and wildlife reserves must be created and maintained to preserve biodiversity. These places offer a haven for endangered species and support ecological balance. The success of these areas depends on strict enforcement of the law.

Reforestation and afforestation

Whether in deforested areas or by converting disturbed lands into forests (afforestation), efforts to replant and restore forests are essential. Reforestation supports biodiversity recovery while restoring habitats and aiding in carbon sequestration.

Illustration showing various sustainability and environmental activities. On the top left, people are planting trees while a rabbit watches. Below that, there's a truck loaded with logs, and a worker chopping wood. On the right, an educator is explaining the importance of trees to a child, using a globe as a visual aid. In the foreground, a cheerful individual sits behind a booth promoting recycling, surrounded by symbols indicating renewable energy sources.

Sustainable approaches to addressing our declining forests

Adapt sustainable logging practices

Promoting sustainable logging practices is essential in areas where illegal logging is a significant industry. While still addressing human economic needs, methods like selective logging and reduced-impact logging can minimise forest damage.

Community engagement

Participating in the community in conservation initiatives can have a significant impact. It is crucial to implement sustainable development projects that offer alternative means of subsistence, educational initiatives, and programmes that enable local communities to defend their forests.

Collaboration with international organisations

Effectively slowing deforestation rates necessitates international collaboration. 

International agreements like the Paris Agreement and institutions like the United Nations enhance global initiatives to address deforestation and the impacts of climate change.

Consumer education

Consumers can contribute to the fight against deforestation as well. Supporting businesses that ethically source goods can promote sustainability.

Summing up

Deforestation significantly impacts biodiversity, habitats, and climate change, threatening various native species and escalating climate change. 

Prompt measures are needed to restore forest ecosystems and protect the Earth’s welfare. 

Conservation efforts at national and international levels are crucial for a sustainable future.

Frequently asked questions

The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture, which accounts for around 80% of forest loss. Agriculture includes the conversion of forest land for crops, livestock, and plantations. 

The main products that drive deforestation are beef, palm oil, soy, and wood. Beef production is responsible for 41% of deforestation in the tropics, followed by palm oil (8%), soy (6%), and wood products (5%).

It is difficult to estimate how many animals die from deforestation every day, as many animals may escape or adapt to new habitats. However, some studies have tried to measure the impact of deforestation on animal mortality. 

One study found that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon caused an average of 0.27 deaths per hectare per year for medium and large mammals. 

Another study estimated that deforestation in Sumatra killed about 1.3 million birds and mammals between 1990 and 2010. 

Based on these studies, we can roughly calculate that deforestation may kill between 10,000 and 100,000 animals per day in the tropics.

Some animals may be more resilient or adaptable to deforestation than others. These animals may have a wide range or a generalist diet that allows them to survive in different habitats. 

Some examples include human beings, domestic animals, pigeons, houseflies, rats, mice, cockroaches, ants, and spiders. These animals are often classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), meaning they have a low risk of extinction. 

However, this does not mean that these animals are not impacted by other environmental problems such as pollution, climate change, or invasive species.

Photo of author

Author

Dr Muhammad Sharif
Dr. Muhammad Sharif holds a Ph.D. in Soil and Environmental Sciences and has 20+ years of experience in areas such as sustainable land use.

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