Whenever people talk about deforestation, usually the things that spring to mind are negative thoughts brought on mostly by media hypes and environmentalist drives. People think about global warming, depletion of natural resources, and the casual extinction of indigenous fauna and flora. Yet people don't seem to realize that there are actually quite a few benefits of deforestation.
One of the easiest benefits of deforestation to spot are the economic ones. Lumber products are one of the most staple constructive materials in human society. Whether it's raw lumber used for making tables and houses, or paper and other wood by-products, we simply cannot live without the use of lumber. Like steel and stone, wood is one of the most basic natural resources, and unlike steel and stone, it is renewable simply by growing more trees. The only real trick to balancing it's consumption is to grow more trees to replace the ones taken.
On a similarly related note, keep in mind that a lot of jobs revolve around the use of lumber. Wood cutters aside, there are those who work in processing plants to make glue from wood sap, process pulp into paper, and others. This is another benefit of deforestation; it opens more job opportunities for people who would otherwise be unemployed. These job opportunities are more than simply a humanitarian concept; society at large would suffer if all of the people working in the wood industry were to suddenly find themselves jobless.
This benefit of deforestation not only covers the people who cut down trees and process them, but also extends to the people who “clean up” after them. For every patch of forest cut down, arable land becomes available for farmers, or can be used as an area to place urban living sites like apartments, houses, and buildings. The number of people employed by such a construction project are many and varied. Or, if the city/government mandates replanting trees to replace the lost ones, then jobs are also provided for those people who do the seeding after a patch of forest is stripped.
Thinking about it, the cleared areas are places which provide a lot of potential for growth, and this is yet another benefit of deforestation. As stated above, arable land is valuable, and the act of deforestation to clear a place for farm land provides a much needed additional food source for man. More often than not, the soil in a forest is much richer than that of regular farm lands because of the wide variety of life it supports. This new land area grants a much needed place to grow a food supply to deal with the planet's steadily expanding population of humanity.
Then, of course, there is the fact that these cleared areas may be razed for urban renewal. Given our burgeoning population growth, additional living areas made on cleared forest land is another benefit of deforestation. These places can be converted into more than just housing areas. Buildings which can house offices for work, or factories to produce clothing and other essential items, or even research facilities for things like new medical or technological advances can be placed in these deforested areas.
Lastly, another benefit of deforestation to consider is the access it provides to other natural resources that may lay within the forest's land area. Some places with heavy forests are home to iron ore, mineral, and even oil deposits which can be used for man's needs. These natural resources would otherwise lay dormant and untapped unless people access them. The act of deforestation may not be entirely necessary to get at these deposits sometimes, but coupled with the advantages given above, the combination of opening up a new mine or oil well when taken with extra living spaces or farm lands for food makes a lot of sense.
So, given all of the benefits of deforestation outlined above, you can see that more often than not, the good outweighs the bad. The planet's environment may indeed suffer from the effects of deforestation, but that is due to irresponsible use of the resources and other benefits provided, not the deforestation itself. As people living on the planet, our duty is not to “hold back” and stop cutting trees. It is to use what we glean from the Earth responsibly and wisely for humanity and the planet's benefit.