Alternative Strategies to Deforestation

There are several things that can be done to decrease deforestation and to offset its negative effects. Many communities are trying to reduce the burden placed on forests by instituting recycling programs and by using alternative materials like plastics in place of wood. In business, companies have begun to use wood products that come only from certified renewable forests that are carefully managed to ensure that they are cut in a sustainable way. Alternative methods of agriculture, such as agroforestry and permaculture, promote the use of trees and the diversification of crops to reduce the stress placed on forests by large-scale agriculture. Protecting forests by creating parks and reserves is another strategy to keep forest resources intact. For those areas that are already devastated, great efforts are being made to replant once-forested lands with native species.

Other efforts are aimed at changing our ideas about the value of forests. Economists are now trying to calculate the true value of the forest as an ecosystem and the benefits it gives as a whole, not only the value of cut logs. This reevaluation will help us make more informed choices about how we use forest land. All of these efforts have helped reduce the burden on the forests, but cutting continues unsustainably. Without the cooperation of all humans to create alternative strategies to deforestation, it will continue with terrible results for the health of our planet. see also Biome; Coniferous Forests; Deciduous Forests; Desertification; Ecosystem; Forestry; Human Impacts; Rain Forests.

Thomas Minney


Bryant, D., D. Nielsen, and L. Tangley. The Last Frontier Forests: Ecosystems and Economics on the Edge. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 1997.

Eisenberg, E. The Ecology of Eden. New York: Vintage Books, 1998.

Global Forest Watch. Forests of the World. [Online] Available at

Hodge, I. Environmental Economics: Individual Incentives and Public Choices. London: MacMillan Press Ltd., 1995.

New Forests Project. [Online] Available at

Ponting, C. A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of the Great Civilizations. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

Timberlake, L. Only One Earth. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 1987.

permaculture agricultural practices that avoid plowing and replanting (from "permanent agriculture")

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