Deforestation is the act of destroying a forest or a group of trees from an area so that the area is no longer used for forest purposes (conversion to ranches, farms, developments, etc). Deforestation can also happen due to natural phenomenon, such as forest fires.
Why Does it Matter?
There are lots of negative effects of deforestation on the environment. One of these is loss of habitat. When the forests are cut down, the animals who previously lived there have no where to go. Standing forests also help hold down soil, but when the forests are destroyed the soil is easier to move. This means that relatively slow wind speeds can shift the dirt. Rainstorms can pick up more soil and it becomes runoff, which has its own set of negative environmental effects.
How Can I Help?
If you want more detailed information about deforestation, click here. If you want to find out how you can help fight deforestation, visit the Environmental Ideas: Think Bigger! page above.