Huge areas of rainforest are cleared each year:
- drug companies want to use plants to help them create medicines;
- developers want to build new roads and settlements;
- mining companies want to extract precious minerals (such as zinc, iron and diamons) and fossil fuels (such as oil and natural gas) from the ground;
- logging companies want timber to make paper and to build furniture with;
- energy companies want to construct dams and lakes for hydro-electricity power stations;
- farmers want more open land to ranch cattle and grow crops such as: coffee, cocoa and rubber on.
Although deforestation helps countries develop and can create new jobs, some people worry that it will be bad because it will:
- lead to a shortage or natural resources in future;
- destroy the habitats of many plants and animals, possibly making some species extinct;
- lead to soil erosion as there are fewer roots to hold the soil together;
- make the ground less fertile (healthy) as nutrients can be easily washed away if there is no tree canopy;
- increase pollution levels with more: timber lorries, cattle trucks and petrol takers around;
- affect the climate.
In recent years, more sustainable ways of using the rainforests have been developed to help conserve and protect them:
- farmers can only grow crops on limited areas of land;
- logging companies have to plant new trees to replace the ones they cut down;
- eco-tourism is being promoted where people just come to: admire the animals, go on scenic jungle tours and visit native villages.