The destruction of trees by charcoal-burners has resulted in the almost complete deforestation of the island.
Before the introduction of coal and coke as fuel in the forges and furnaces the cutting of young trees for the manufacture of charcoal was a profitable industry, and the process of deforestation reached its maximum.
Under de Quincey's administration the islands prospered; the cultivation of cotton and coffee was then begun, much of the land being deforested for this purpose - a deforestation practically completed when vanilla was introduced.
Naturalist, 1906, pp. 7 6 9-795, 82 9- 8 59) finds that foremost in the long series of causes which lead to extinction are the grander environmental changes, such as physiographic changes, diminished or contracted land areas, substitution of insular for continental conditions; changes of climate and secular lowering of temperature accompanied by deforestation and checking of the food supply; changes influencing the mating period as well as fertility; changes causing increased humidity, which in turn favours enemies among insect life.
The process of reckless deforestation is perceptible in certain districts, the natives often destroying a whole tree for a plank or rafter.
Notwithstanding the efforts of the government to unify and co-ordinate the forest laws previously existing in the various states, deforestation has continued in many regions.