The loss of tropical moist forest will bring about changes in the composition of the earth's atmosphere with consequences for climate and the earth's food producing capacity. For the people who live and depend on the tropical moist forest, its disappearance has devastating consequences. This may include those that live thousands of kilometres away, who may be affected by floods, land slides etc. intensified by deforestation.
Tropical moist forest is being lost through indiscriminate logging practices and is being converted into farmland. This conversion is often not sustainable due to the nature of the underlying soils and the rapid nutrient recycling that occurs in the tropical moist forest. Nutrients are lost once the vegetation is removed. Traditional systems of using unpromising forest soils are breaking down as people are compressed into smaller areas and are denied access to land. Forest fallows are declining and people are forced to grow cash crops that are destructive to the soil.
Dispossesed people moving into the forests are not shifting cultivators but rather "shifted cultivators" that have experience and traditions of different methods that are not adapted to the forest and are destructive. Government supported transmigration programmes to settle forest areas exacerbate the problem while avoiding the issue of land redistribution in more favourable areas.