Endangered Species Handbook

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Forest

Forests' Retreat

     As recently as 1960, forests covered one‑fourth of the Earth's land surface (CEQ 1980).  With continued logging and clearance, two decades later, in 1980, only one‑fifth remained forested (CEQ 1980).  Since then, forests have continued their decline, losing more than 5 million square miles since 1960.  During the last quarter-century alone, the world's forests have shrunk the equivalent of one-half the land area of the United States.
 
     This destruction has threatened thousands of animals and plants with extinction.  In fact, forests have the greatest number of endangered species of any ecosystem.  Of all types of forests, primary, old-growth forests, especially tropical rainforests, harbor the greatest wildlife and plant diversity and the greatest number of endangered species (Collar et al. 1994, Collins 1990, Mittermeier et al. 1999a).  Second-growth and mixed types of forests are also key habitats for many species, and clearing these forests has threatened thousands of plants and animals.

Page 1 (Gradual Destruction)
Page 2 (Paper)
Page 3 (Tropical Forest)
Page 4 (Logging)
Page 5 (Threatened Animals)
Page 6 (Commercial Value)
Page 7 (Trauma to animals)
Page 8 (Old-growth)
Page 9 (Research)
Page 10 (Tree Farms)


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    ©1983 Animal Welfare Institute