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How does deforestation affect climate change?

Forests cover about 30% of the world’s land area, but patches the size of Panama are lost every year due to deforestation.  If we continue at our current rate of deforestation there will be no more rainforests in 100 years. 

Forests serve many purposes; 70% of Earth’s animals and plants live in forests, trees serve a crucial role in the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere, trees keep forest soil moist by blocking the sun, and most importantly—trees absorb the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming.

Deforestation and land use change contribute approximately 20 to 25 percent of the carbon emissions that cause climate change.  In addition, more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty depend on these forests for water, fuel, and livelihoods.  Deforestation devastates the lives of people who are poor.