Among the obvious consequences of deforestation is the loss of living space. Seventy percent of the Earths land animals and plants reside in forests. But the harm doesnt stop there. Rain forests help generate rainfall in drought-prone countries elsewhere. Studies have shown that destruction of rain forests in such West African countries as Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte dIvoire may have caused two decades of droughts in the interior of Africa, with attendant hardship and famine.
Deforestation may have catastrophic global effects as well. Trees are natural consumers of carbon dioxideone of the greenhouse gases whose buildup in the atmosphere contributes to global warming. Destruction of trees not only removes these carbon sinks, but tree burning and decomposition pump into the atmosphere even more carbon dioxide, along with methane, another major greenhouse gas.