The 22nd of April is Earth Day, and the theme for 2016 is Trees for the Earth. Trees provide us with food, energy and income, and help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental stability. They help delay the effects of climate change, both globally and locally.

Earth Day has been commemorated every year since 1970, and this year the organisers are calling on people around the world to help them achieve an ambitious goal – planting 7.8 billion trees by Earth Day 2020: one tree for every person on the planet.

Earth Day 2016
The Amazon rain forest, bordered by deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans in Mato Grosso state, western BrazilPaulo Whitaker/ Reuters

According to Scientific American, we are losing roughly 80,000 acres of tropical rainforest each day, while "significantly degrading another 80,000 acres every day on top of that". These issues cannot be solved when there is an overwhelming demand for what the trees can give us: timber, paper and for secondary products such as packaging, despite the fact that such products can be sourced via other materials.

This demand can often result in loggers to go to extreme lengths to meet the demands; with many going about it illegally. Forests are cleared for plantations such as palm oil, stripping the economic livelihood of local communities. The Amazon rainforest is being eaten away at by deforestation, often by burning large fires to clear away the trees so that the land can be converted to non-forest use, such as farms, ranches or general urban use.

Earth Day 2016
Men try to extinguish a fire at a farm in Rio Pardo next to Bom Futuro National Forest, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A fisherman's house is seen along the Tapajos River, a tributary of the Amazon, near the city of Santarem, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
The Amazon rainforest at the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
The Amazon rainforest at the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A tree, which was illegally felled, lies on the floor of the Amazon rainforest in Jamanxim National Park near the city of Novo Progresso, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A tractor used to drag logs out of the Amazon rainforest, burns after being destroyed by police on a raid to stop illegal logging in Jamanxim National Park, near the city of Novo Progresso, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters

A large part of Brazil is gripped by drought, thought to be caused partly by deforestation of the Amazon. According to Brazil's National Space Research Institute, deforestation causes a dramatic decrease in the humidity that comes from the Amazon in the form of vapour clouds, drying up key reservoirs in Sao Paulo and neighbouring states.

About 20 billion tonnes of vapour evaporate from the Amazon region every day. A big Amazonian tree, with a crown measuring 20 metres, can evaporate up to 300 litres a day, compared with one litre evaporated by a square meter of ocean, according to the Space Research Institute.

Cattle ranching is a significant contributor to deforestation in the Amazon. Fires are often set by ranchers to clear shrubs and forest for grazing land.

Earth Day 2016
A tractor works on a wheat plantation on land that used to be virgin Amazon rainforest near the city of Santarem, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Soldiers from the Brazilian Army stand near a truck loaded with blades which they confiscated during the "Hileia Patria" operation against illegal sawmills and loggers in the Alto Guama River indigenous reserve in Nova Esperanca do Piria, Para State, BrazilRicardo Moraes/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Workers arrange lumber cut from trees that were illegally extracted from the Amazon jungle near the city of Morais Almeida, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
The construction site of an illegal sawmill is seen from a police helicopter during the "Hileia Patria" operation against sawmills and loggers who trade in illegally-extracted wood from the Alto Guama River indigenous reserve in Nova Esperanca do Piria, Para State, BrazilRicardo Moraes/ Reuters

"The importance of forests stretches far beyond their own boundaries. Forests help to regulate the Earth's climate because they store nearly 300 billion tonnes of carbon in their living parts – roughly 40 times the annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels." Greenpeace reported.

Earth Day 2016
A burning tree is pictured near Rio Pardo, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil. The town of Rio Pardo, a settlement of about 4,000 people in the Amazon rainforest, rises where only jungle stood less than a quarter of a century ago. Loggers first cleared the forest followed by ranchers and farmers, then small merchants and prospectorsNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Ovens used to make charcoal from wood is seen in a traditional charcoal factory in the Amazon city of Boa Vista, BrazilPaulo Whitaker/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Cattle rest in a deforested Amazonian jungle close to Maraba, in Brazil's central state of ParaPaulo Whitaker/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
The Brazil nut tree, the largest of trees in the Amazon's rainforests, is seen in a deforested area in Santa Barbara farm, close to Maraba, in Brazil's central state of ParaPaulo Whitaker/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A tract of Amazon rainforest, which has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture, is seen near the city of Santarem, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Men try to extinguish a fire at a farm in Rio Pardo next to Bom Futuro National Forest, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
An illegal wildcat gold mine, located on an area of deforested Amazon rainforest, is seen near the city of Castelo dos Sonhos, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A rainbow is seen over a tract of Amazon rainforest which has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture, near the city of Uruara, Para State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
An aerial view shows an illegal logging camp (blue tarpaulin in foreground) in the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Indians who are considered uncontacted by anthropologists react to a plane flying over their community in the Amazon basin near the Xinane river in Brazil's Acre State, close to the border with PeruLunae Parracho/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
Cows are seen in this aerial view on a deforested plot of the Amazon rainforest near Rio Pardo, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
An aerial view shows an illegal logging camp (blue tarpaulin in foreground) in the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters
Earth Day 2016
A tree is pictured at sunrise in the village of Rio Pardo next to Bom Futuro National Forest, in the district of Porto Velho, Rondonia State, BrazilNacho Doce/ Reuters

Areas such as Rondonia, a western Brazilian state half the size of Ireland, has seen a dramatic rise in deforestation of the rainforest in recent decades. Since 1988, about 16% of the state has been cleared. An area bigger than Germany has been razed across the entire Amazon over the same period. Below is a combination image, taken from a Nasa satellite, showing the rainforest on 19 July, 1975 and 27 August 2014.

Earth Day 2016
Rondonia, a western Brazilian state about half the size of Ireland, is seen in a combination of NASA satellite image taken 19 July, 1975 (L) and 27 August, 2014 (R)NASA

The Earth Day Network has five years in which to realise its dream of planting 7.8 billion trees. You can help – find out how here.