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Remains of a forest in Madagascar
An area of forest 3 times the size of Wales is cut down every year.


The main problem facing the environment at the moment is of course climate change. But there is another massive challenge nature is facing - species are dying out at an incredible rate because of habitat loss. The main reason for this is deforestation, but how can we fight to stop it?

The primary reason for deforestation is to make way for farms. We're chopping down millions of acres of forest to create grazing land for cattle or arable land for crops. All this to feed the ever increasing human population, already in the billions. But what good is food if we can't breathe? Forests not only provide us with oxygen, they also cleanse carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and so help to tackle global warming.

Three-quarters of land animals live in forests and we're removing their homes for purely selfish reasons. And it's not just animals - countless species of tropical plant have become extinct before we even discovered them.

Find out how we can help to end deforestation by playing this quiz. World governments can make the biggest difference, but we can all do our little bit.

We all know that trees produce oxygen. How many mature sycamore trees are needed to provide enough oxygen for one person?
One or two
Seven or eight
Twenty or thirty
Fifty or sixty
Trees release oxygen through photosynthesis. A sycamore produces around 100 kg of oxygen per year, and a human breathes in 740 kg of oxygen. We need lots of trees in order to breathe!
As well as producing oxygen, trees also remove carbon dioxide from the air. Each year they remove what fraction of the CO2 humans put into the atmosphere?
One half
One quarter
One eighth
One sixteenth
The world's forests remove 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere a year - humans put nearly 40 billion tonnes into it. Of course, if there were more trees they would remove more CO2, but we keep chopping them down!
Deforestation causes lots of problems. Which of the following is NOT caused by deforestation?
Increased greenhouse gasses
Plastic pollution
Habitat loss
70% of our land species live in forests, so chopping them down causes habitat loss. Deforestation also causes soil erosion, which leads to flooding, and it increases the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. There are many reasons we need to stop damaging our forests
Forests are vital to life on Earth. How much of the Earth’s land is covered by forests?
One third
One half
Two thirds
Three quarters
Today there are approximately 3 trillion trees on the planet. Before humans arrived there were more like 7 trillion. We have cut down more than half of the world’s forests already
In 2021, 11 million hectares of tropical forest were lost. That’s roughly the size of which country?
11 million hectares is 110,000 km2. The UK is not much bigger, at 130,000 km2. This is at a time when we should be planting more trees, not cutting them down!
We know that deforestation is a problem, yet we still chop forests down. What is the main reason for this?
To make way for farms
Logging for timber and fuel
All of the above
Forests are cut down to make grazing land for livestock or land for growing crops, such as palm oil. Logging, mining and climate change also cause deforestation, as do natural forest fires, but not to the same extent as farming
To create farmland, forests are cut down and their stumps and seedlings burned. What is the name of this agricultural method?
Hack and flame
Chop and char
Slash and burn
Axe and ash
The felled trees ("slash") are left to dry, after which it is burned, leaving behind a fertile layer of ash – great for farming (at least in the short term), not so great for the forest!
How many species are we losing a day because of deforestation?
1 to 2
10 to 20
50 to 70
100 to 200
Before humans came along, an average of between 1 and 5 species became extinct per year (that's right - per year, not per day!) - that's a ten-thousand-fold increase!
Tropical rainforests have given us medicines we take for granted. What percentage of our medicines come from them?
And we have only tested 1% of the plants found there – by destroying the forests we may be depriving ourselves of future cures for disease
What can you do to fight deforestation?
Become vegan
Go paperless
Recycle card and paper
All of the above
70-80% of Amazon deforestation was to make grazing land for livestock. Animals take much more land to rear than crops do. If we all became vegan then the threat to our forests would decrease considerably
Author:  Graeme Haw

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