Also, the reasons for deforestation are largely economic. Softwoods from areas under boreal forest are used in the paper and construction industries, while tropical hardwoods are used in the manufacture of furniture and for construction purposes. In South American countries, forest and woodland areas are also heavily exploited for wood-fuel, which is the main source of energy. Following Ehrhardt-Martinez (1998):
"Deforestation in developed countries has reached very low levels, it accounts for the loss of 16.3 million hectares of forest per year in developing countries -- an area approximately twice the size of Portugal. An estimated 15.4 million hectares of forest loss occurs each year in tropical regions, with the worst losses occurring in Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4 million ha) (568)
Clearly, the exploitative decline in forest and woodland resources is not sustainable in the long term and a number of environmental problems, including soil erosion and biodiversity losses, have developed as a result. Improved road access into deforested areas is likely to encourage population influx and increased shifting cultivation (Margulis 39).
Farmers are then encouraged to trans...
These strategies are very successful helping to establish a special culture of forest management and land use (Ehrhardt-Martinez, 569). For the highlands, this meant more emphasis on cattle-ranching, generating meat and dairy products for the growing urban markets, and less importance for traditional subsistence crops like corn, wheat and barley. The establishment of all-weather routes meant that areas which had only been accessible during the dry season could now be used for continuous product extraction, promoting permanent settlement which in turn also increased the demand for local food products. it should be noted that forests, while not the only, are still the main source of 'reserve land areas' to be gradually included in the pool of cultivated areas (WRM 1998). Due to the low commercial scale of remaining valuable timber species, it is usually not worthwhile to open a new road in a mountainous region just for the sake of timber extraction; this thus eliminates any prospective 'indirect' impact. The extraction of logs here may rather be a by-product of forest-clearing implemented for general purposes of colonization (Margulis 89). According to road distance and market requirements, either all types of firewood are cut and used across the board for conversion, or hard species with a high energy content are selected. In the case of across-the-board utilization, charcoal-burning would indeed be a candidate as a cause of deforestation, provided that the once-and-for-all rent from clearing and charcoal conversion is in fact the decisive motivation within the landowner's resource-use strategy.
The problem of deforestation needs complex solutions and