Expanding agriculture is one of the most important causes of deforestation. As demands on agricultural products rise more and more land is brought under cultivation for which forests are cleared, grass-lands ploughed, uneven grounds leveled, marshes drained and even land under water is reclaimed. However, this expansion is usually marked with more ecological destruction than rationality. Governments often distribute land under forests to landless people, instead of redistributing already established farm-lands, howsoever, wasteful, unequal and unjust the distribution of ownership of land may be.
Nothing is done to assess the fertility of the forest soil before clearing it for farming. In tropical regions of the world as much of the mineral material is lodged in the plant biomass, its removal takes away a large part of nutrients. The soil being poorer is unable to support farming for long durations. Once agriculture fails, the cleared land is put to use as cattle ranches which too is a hopeless business. The bared soil is subjected to massive erosion and degradation.