Deforestation - How does it happens and what can we do?

old forest

What is deforestation?

Deforestation is the clearance of trees from areas of forest land for non-forest uses. Deforestation can have many causes and happen for a number of reasons:

Forest fires: In recent years the number and severity of wild fires worldwide have been increasing, largely due to climate change, which you can read more about here. These fires can destroy massive areas of forest, that can then take decades to begin to noticeably recover.

Clear-cutting: This is the most direct form of deforestation. Where areas of forest land are purposefully cleared to be used for purposes such as agriculture, ranching and development,

Logging: While logging can be a sustainable (look out for FSC or PEFC certification), often it is put into practice unsustainable. For example unsustainable logging for timber is one of the biggest threats to the Amazon rainforest and the species that inhabit it.

Degradation and desertification: Due to climate change many areas of forest are struggling. A major reason for this is desertification. This is where areas of previously species rich land slowly become areas of desert. This is a particular problem around the Sahara desert region, and can only be reduced by careful land management which currently is not happening.

Why is deforestation a problem?

Deforestation impacts people’s livelihoods by reducing access to resources and threatens a wide range of plant and animal species through destruction of habitats. See our post detailing the threats deforestation poses to orang-utans.

Forests also act as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. However as deforestation becomes a bigger problem this effect becomes less pronounced. So with less forest areas climate change will only accelerate.

What can you do?

Make sure you only buy products with sustainably sourced materials, in particular when purchasing paper, furniture, or products containing Palm oil. Looks out for the FSC or PEFC symbol on packaging too. All of our bamboo toothbrush subscription boxes come in a low-waste designed PEFC-certified box.

You can donate to forest conservation projects such as the World Land Trust, or wildlife conservation charities such as the World Wildlife Foundation, who we donate 10p to for every toothbrush sold.

If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this post, or want to learn more about this topic you can contact us by email at or get in touch here.

Main photo credit: Veeterzy on Unsplash

Seb Gauthier