the last wawe: slash-and-burn
Poor farmers in many parts of the world rely on clearing rainforest to feed their families. Without access to better agricultural lands, these people use slash-and-burn to clear patches of forest for short-term periods of time. Typically, they farm the cleared land for a couple of years before the soil is exhausted of nutrients and they must move on to new patch of forest.
Local people often rely on harvesting wood for rainforests for fire wood and building materials. In the past such practices were not particularly damaging to the ecosystem. However, today in areas with large human populations, the sheer number of people collecting wood from an area rainforest can be extremely damaging. For example the forests around the refugee camps in Central Africa (Rwanda and Congo) were virtually stripped of all trees in some areas.