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July 22nd, 2008
Burning Season
Photo Essay: Endangered Animals in the World's Forests

Deforestation is taking place at a rate of about 13 million hectares per year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s an area about the size of Greece.

Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for an estimated 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It also leads to a loss of habitat for many animal species.

Seventy percent of all land animals live in forests. Many are threatened by rapid deforestation due to fires, logging, and land clearing for agriculture, cattle grazing and development.

The logging and clearing of old-growth (also known as “primary” or “original”) forests is of particular concern. Old-growth forests have existed for centuries without significant human interference. They provide unique habitats for animals because of their mix of old, young and fallen trees, intact soils, and abundant mosses and fungi. The destruction of these forests endangers the animals that live in them.

The photo gallery below illustrates some of the species threatened by deforestation.

Sources: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rainforest Foundation,,, U.S. National Parks Service, National Geographic, IUCN Red List 2007

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