The Carbon Cycle
Forests are vast reservoirs for carbon, as carbon makes up most of the bulk of a tree. The Congo rainforest holds the largest amount of carbon in Africa. If forests continue to be cut down, CO2 emissions will grow.
The Water Cycle
Over 75% of rainfall in the Congo forests in generated by the trees through a process known as evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration involves the release of water into the atmosphere through trees and evaporation. If large amounts of the forest are cut down, rainfall patterns could change.
Phosphorus and Nitrogen Cycles
Deforestation, especially through slash and burn agriculture, leads to the depletion of nutrients (including phosphorus and nitrogen) from the soil. These nutrients allow plants to grow.