It may be hard to understand if you are a person who cherishes the natural resources of the Earth, but people cut down rainforests because of the money. Of course, there are several categories under this general term, but all of them have their roots in someone making money by using the land the rainforests are on or by using the trees and other materials to make money.

Some of the clear-cutting of rainforests is due to logging companies who want the specialty woods that grow in the tropical parts of the world. Rainforests of cooler climates, such as those on the coastal islands of Alaska, are also targets for heavy logging. In the tropical rainforest companies cut large amounts of rare woods, such as teak and dark mahogany. The smaller trees and those that don’t produce quality wood for furniture and building will be used to make plywood, wood-chip boards and for charcoal.

But we stated earlier that there are people who want to use the land on which the rainforest grows. This means clear-cutting so that cash crops other than trees can be planted. Rainforest soil is cleared for large fruit farms (plantations) and for raising grain crops such as wheat, corn, barley etc. Many acres of land that was once covered by rainforests is now used for growing such money-making crops as sugar cane, tea and coffee.

In places where the land does not support crops after a few years of intensive farming, some individuals allow the once-lush rainforest land to grow up in rough grasses. Cattle are then pastured on this land. Huge amounts of beef are sold to other countries from those nations where rainforest land is now available for grazing.

With intensive farming for just a few years, the soil is often depleted of the nutrients that helped the rainforest grow and also allowed cash crops to grow. When the soil will no longer support such farming, the companies often move on to other areas that still support lush forests. The bare ground is then abandoned and is often allowed to become overgrown with small, rough plants and grasses. Wildlife that once thrived in the forests have also been eliminated, either by man or because they simply moved on.

Some rainforest land is just the “roof” for underground riches such as gold, aluminum and other cash-producing metals. The forests are often cleared and the lumber sold so that it will be easier to access the cash-making minerals under the earth.

One last item lies under some of the rainforests that have been destroyed over the years. Oil is in great demand around the world as a mobile population on the planet fills cars, trucks and motorcycles with gasoline. The forests are often severely damaged when companies build roads and processing plants for the oil industry.

Not only are businesses mentioned above responsible for the cutting of the rainforests, the pollution from these industries sometimes transforms the land so that it can’t be used for growing crops or trees again. The pursuit of profit and the perceived need for more living space has taken a great toll on the world’s rainforests.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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