Deforestation can be caused by human activities or naturally. Deforestation caused due to human activity includes:
1. Agricultural expansion: Obtaining land for cultivation of crops - agricultural expansion. Due to expanding population, there is an increased demand in the production of food. Thus, trees are cut down for crop production. More than \(40 \%\) of forests are cleared to obtain land to meet agricultural needs.
2. Cattle breeding and for cattle grazing.
3. Urbanisation: With urbanization and city expansion, more land is needed for housing and settlement. The expansion of the city caused the clearing of forests.
Deforestation due to urbanisation
Due to urbanization, there is increased construction of roads, houses, expansion of industries. Forests are destroyed to meet the needs.
4. Mining: Mining of coal, diamond, gold exploits forest land. A large number of trees are cut down due to mining. Waste that comes from mining pollutes the environment and affects the plants present nearby.
5. Dam construction: Large dams are constructed to provide water supply to the growing population. Thus, greater forest area are cleared.
6. Timber production: Timber is the wood obtained to build houses, furniture. To meet the wood needs, wood-based industries like paper, match sticks, furniture requires an increased amount of wood supply. Wood is commonly used fuel. Thus, trees are cut down for fuel. Some people are involved in illegal logging and destroy more trees. This is the prime reason how valuable plants are destroyed.
7. Illegal logging - Forests are cut down for obtaining firewood for fuel needs.
8. Oil extraction.
9. They are mainly cleared so that land can be used for construction of roads, dams, houses, industries etc.
Deforestation is caused naturally through:
1. Forest fire: Forest fires are expected from time to time and is caused due to accidents, natural factors or humans. Forest fires wipe out a large area of forest nearly thousands of acres each year all over the world. Forest fires affects the biodiversity as well as the economy.
2. Cyclone destroys trees on a large scale and affect the livelihood of people who depend on the forests.
Chipko movement is a forest conservation movement. "Chipko" in hindi means to "to stick" or "to hug" or "to cling to". Sunderlal Bahuguna was the founder of the Chipko movement. The movement was started in \(1970s\) to protect, conserve trees and to preserve the forests from being destroyed for logging and commercial purposes.
It was a non-violent movement where women were involved. They hugged the trees to prevent the loggers to cut the trees. The movement was against the people who destroy trees and cause ecological imbalance. It resulted in the ban of cutting trees.