12 November 2008

Vis Lang: System postcard research


Geography Dictionary: deforestation

The complete clearance of forests by cutting and/or burning. In 1997 the world's top deforesters were Brazil, Indonesia, and Bolivia.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: deforestation

Process of clearing forests. Rates of deforestation are particularly high in the tropics, where the poor quality of the soil has led to the practice of routine clear-cutting to make new soil available for agricultural use. Deforestation can lead to erosion, drought, loss of biodiversity through extinction of plant and animal species, and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Many nations have undertaken afforestation or reforestation projects to reverse the effects of deforestation, or to increase available timber.

Wikipedia: deforestation

Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forest land for use such as arable land, pasture, urban use, logged area, or wasteland.[1][not in citation given] Generally, the removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity. In many countries, massive deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography

Since about the mid-1800s the Earth has experienced an unprecedented rate of change of destruction of forests worldwide.[4] Forests in Europe are adversely affected by acid rain and very large areas of Siberia have been harvested since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the last two decades, Afghanistan has lost over 70% of its forests throughout the country.[5] However it is in the world's great tropical rainforests where the destruction is most pronounced at the current time and where wholesale felling is having an adverse effect on biodiversity and contributing to the ongoing Holocene mass extinction.[6]

About half of the mature tropical forests, between 750 to 800 million hectares of the original 1.5 to 1.6 billion hectares that once covered the planet have been felled.

Much of what remains is in the Amazon basin, where the Amazon Rainforest covered more than 600 million hectares. The forests are being destroyed at an accelerating pace tracking the rapid pace of human population growth. Unless significant measures are taken on a world-wide basis to preserve them, by 2030 there will only be ten percent remaining with another ten percent in a degraded condition. 80 percent will have been lost and with them the irreversible loss of hundreds of thousands of species.


Historically utilization of forest products, including timber and fuel wood, have played a key role in human societies, comparable to the roles of water and cultivable land. Today, developed countries continue to utilize timber for building houses, and wood pulp for paper. In developing countries almost 3 billion people rely on wood for heating and cooking.[12] The forest products industry is a large part of the economy in both developed and developing countries.

Narrow definition of deforestation is: the removal of forest cover to an extent that allows for alternative land use.

United States

Prior to the arrival of European-Americans about one half of the United States land area was forest, about 4 million square kilometers (1 billion acres) in 1600. For the next 300 years land was cleared, mostly for agriculture at a rate that matched the rate of population growth. For every person added to the population, one to two hectares of land was cultivated.


Based on this research, and thinking about what logs and tree stumps could relate to to create a system, I came up with the idea of a system of housing development, rooted in deforestation for the growth. In the system of housing development, there are a lot of tree stumps left behind, as the trees have been cut and sent to log mills, and increasing population growth- more families that need homes, more space needed to build on, and more wood to make the homes with.

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