AQA GCSE Biology

Revision Notes

7.3.4 Deforestation


  • Deforestation is the clearing of trees (usually on a large scale)
  • If trees are replaced by replanting it can be a sustainable practise
  • Unfortunately, this is not often the case and unsustainable deforestation is occurring in many places (forests are being cut down faster than they can regenerate)
  • Unsustainable deforestation is occurring on a large scale in the rainforests of tropical areas for various reasons including:
    • To provide more land for farming (eg. cattle and rice fields)
    • To grow crops from which ethanol-based biofuels can be produced
  • As the amount of the Earth’s surface covered by trees decreases, it causes increasingly negative effects on the environment and is a particularly severe example of habitat destruction
  • Undesirable effects of deforestation include:
    • Extinction of species
    • Loss of soil
    • Flooding
    • Increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Consequences of deforestation table

Consequences of Deforestation table, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notes

Exam Tip

The two main reasons deforestation occurs in tropical areas is for farming and growing biofuel crops. However, you may be asked why deforestation takes place more generally (not specifically in tropical areas). For this question, the following answers are acceptable:

  • To provide land for farming/agriculture
  • To provide land for quarrying
  • To provide land for building
  • To provide wood for building materials
  • To provide fuel
  • To provide paper

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Jenna studied at Cardiff University before training to become a science teacher at the University of Bath specialising in Biology (although she loves teaching all three sciences at GCSE level!). Teaching is her passion, and with 10 years experience teaching across a wide range of specifications – from GCSE and A Level Biology in the UK to IGCSE and IB Biology internationally – she knows what is required to pass those Biology exams.

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