Causes and Effects of Deforestation

It is irrefutable that the issue of deforestation has become one of the most challenging and painful because of the growing problems regarding it. Deforestation can be defined as the process of vanishing the trees. Each year, about 13 million hectares of forest are converted into agricultural land or cleared for other purposes and the numbers are expected to increase in the near future.

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It would be rather inconceivable if there are less rainforests seen on the Earth as they are extremely important to humans and animals. Therefore, this essay will explain the primary causes of deforestation which are agricultural and political, and to discuss long term effects of deforestation.

The ultimate cause of deforestation is agricultural. Due to the increasing demand of crops, countless rainforests are cleared and exploited to provide more areas for agricultural purposes. As burning is the easiest method and it consumes a small proportion of money, many agribusiness companies prefer to use this unethical method in clearing forest. Slash and burn technique can affect a vast part of the forest as it is very hard to control the flames after the fire started. They can expand and burn the remaining part of forests unintentionally Other than causing haze, this also results in the destruction of the natural environment. In Amazonia, the slash and burn method has been used for ages as a tool for clearing forests and transforming it to agricultural land. During the last half of twentieth century, one of the most major and environmental transformation in the Amazonian area has been the short time interval of time between forest fires. This has proven that forest fires have been frequent in the largest forest in the world, Amazonia (Stenstrup, 2009). Consequently, fire causes the soil to become infertile and not suitable for successful farming. It can only be used for a few years and the crop production would fall down year by year. Eventually, farmers would move to a new piece of deforested lands as purchasing soil additives and fertilisers would be more expensive than the former.

Secondly, the second cause of deforestation is political, more specifically, illegal logging. Greedy loggers and ranchers would do anything to get lands even if they have to do it in the most wicked way, which is apparently, logging illegally. It is undeniable that most governments in the world has preserved a big part of their existing forest and put on limits for logging. However, their preservation is not entirely efficient. This is because forests are not strictly observed and many forest-dwelling communities have little power over ownership of their land, making it easy for outsiders to acquire entry to their forest. In Central America, Guatemala’s poorly equipped corps of forest rangers is being overwhelmed by powerful loggers and ranchers who operate in the vast El Peten rain forest as they are being offered with bribery in return of cooperation with the loggers (Golden & Miller, 1194, p. 47-53). Moreover, these rangers are underpaid, forcing them to accept the recognition that loggers give in order to gain access to the forest. Due to the developers’ political and economic power, they are in position to repel the authority rules designed to restrain deforestation

It is clear that the primary causes of deforestation are agriculture and political. A vast areas of forests are being wrecked and vegetation has disappeared. Regarding to deforestation, there are profound consequences, climate change and loss of habitats.

The first effect of forest clearing is climate change. The challenges of climate change have become threatening in the recent few decades. It is caused by an acute heating of earth’s atmosphere as a result of increasing greenhouse gasses. When trees are being cut, the earth is losing its natural carbon dioxide regulator. Plants take up carbon dioxide that are released by human and animals to undergo photosynthesis in order for them to produce glucose to grow. As long trees are growing and alive at the area, they will store the carbon. However, chopping trees causes them to die and eventually release the carbon dioxide in the air (Stenstrup, 2009). The accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results in higher temperature and global warming. According to Stenstrup (2009), it is estimated that deforestation is accountable for 20% of total carbon releases every year, causing almost as much of global warming as the consumption of fossil fuels in the United States.

The second effect of deforestation is loss of habitat for animals. Forests are the homes for animals, the place where they breed and grow up. When an area is totally deforested, animals can no longer find available natural resources for feeding resulting in starving and eventually, death. Some of them fled to unfamiliar places such the countryside and would not be able to survive as the surroundings are completely different than the forest. Habitat loss could disrupt the ecosystem where animals, plants, insects, fungi and grasses are in crisis. Owing to the destruction of animal’s habitats, an enormous number of animals worldwide are threatened to extinction. Consequently, the biodiversity of the forests could not be sustained and less range of animals could be found in the near future.

The deforestation that is happening all around the world today is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, it is very important to put the issue of deforestation into discussion and come up with ideas to control deforestation efficiently. This is because the survival of rainforests is very important for human beings as well. If no steps are taken, human beings would not be able to cope with the harsh of climate change of the future.

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