Deforestation and Climate Change

When it comes to deforestation, fingers point in all directions for the blame. The blame stems from the negative impact deforestation is causing on the earth and the things certain individuals do to cause this. Forests are spread worldwide and they come in all different shapes and sizes. Thousands of years ago there were more than 6 million hectares of forests widespread. Only half of these forests remain to this day because of human influential factors. Due to these human influential factors, many animal habitats have been destroyed as well as, watershed resources, plant life, and the environment. Many people seem to not care about the effects of deforestation, however, there are many risk factors to our environment, such as the disruption of the water cycle, an increase in soil erosion, and climate change.

Deforestation and Climate Change

Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change. Toni Johnson from the Council of Foreign Relations says Loss of forests contributes to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. Around the world, forests are giving way to plantations for palm oils, soy, rubber, coffee, tea, and rice among other crops. These forests are slashed and burned which is a method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest. This is a concern because of the release of greenhouse gasses. Another increasing concern is the rising popularity of biofuels. The biofuels are generated from oils that are extracted from plants such as; palm oil. These oils are often grown on the lands that were cleared of natural forests. A world without trees would appear to look very desolate. A desolate world would have a drastic change in how the world looks now and would loom to be lifeless. Trees are a crucial factor in our existence not only because they supply us our materials but because they serve an important role in the carbon cycle.

Our increasing population has caused the idea of a desolate world. People around the world have been destroying, using, and burning trees for decades, the outcome of the recurrent actions cause forests have continued to recede. When the human populations spread the destruction of the forests increase. Clearing the forests for agriculture has been the leading cause of deforestation. Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change. Loss of forests contributes to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. Around the world, forests are giving way to plantations for palm oils, soy, rubber, coffee, tea, and rice among other crops. These forests are slashed and burned which is a method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest. This is a concern because of the release of greenhouse gasses.

Deforestation and Global Warming

“Deforestation and Climate Change, Climate Institute says, In addition to its local effects, burning organic materials on a large scale, like what is done with slash-and-burn agriculture, emits greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change. Increasing these concerns is the rising popularity of biofuels. The biofuels are generated from oils that are extracted from plants such as; palm oil. These oils are often grown on the lands that were cleared of natural forests. Fewer forests would mean larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and an increase in the speed and severity of global warming. When trees get cut down and are burned or even allowed to rot, their stored carbon is released as carbon dioxide into the air. This is how deforestation and forest degradation contribute to global warming. According to the best current estimate deforestation is responsible for about 10 percent of all global warming emissions says the Tropical Deforestation and Global Warming. Union of Concerned Scientists.

When deforestation takes place this allows harmful emissions to be released. Trees capture greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, preventing them from accumulating in our atmosphere causing it to warm our planet. A joint study by two of the world’s leading research groups proves that 3.0 billion tons of carbon dioxide come from tropical deforestation per year. The average U.S. car emits about 5 tons of Co?‚‚ a year, so 3 billion is the equivalent of 600 million cars that’s almost twice as many as there are in all of the United States. When cutting down trees we are not only destroying our protection that collects a lot of greenhouse gases. We’re also creating emissions by cutting them down: when the trees are destroyed, they release all of the carbon that they had stored. All in all deforestation on its own causes about 10 percent of worldwide emissions.

This proves that the more forests that are cut down the more Co?‚‚ will be released, causing an increase in climate change, however, the disruption of the water cycle is affected by deforestation too. Maintaining the balance of the water cycle is vital for the wellness of the earth and every being on it. When the water cycle gets disrupted it can lead to global changes, like climate change. Mass deforestation can briskly turn lush forests into Sahara deserts. This happens because rain from the areas flows away as river water, which causes permanent drying. Every tree in the forest sucks water out of the ground through its roots and releases water vapor into the atmosphere. They create giant bodies of water in the air -bodies of water that form clouds and creates rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

However, as we clear the planet of trees, we risk drying up rivers and lands that depend on the rain. The impact of deforestation is one of the most important non-carbon effects. The forests cause the rainfall, and if they weren’t there the interior of these continental areas would be deserted, one expert says. This supports the point of forests causing the rainfall and that if they weren’t there, the interior of the continents would be deserted. The water cycle and forests go hand in hand because they rely on each other. “A situation in Haiti compared to the Dominican Republic is a great example of the important role forests plays in the water cycle,” Daley says.

Haiti in comparison to the Dominican Republic has much fewer forests. Even though they share the same island Haiti more extreme soil erosion, flooding, and landslide issues. These situations have occurred because of the forests being low in number in Haiti but the Dominican Republic has been able to thrive more due to an abundance of forests. All of this happens because the trees aren’t there to soak up the rain and claim the spoils. When this progresses it disrupts certain parts of the water cycle then affects all of the water cycles, like a domino effect. This ties into the risk factor of soil erosion which affects the land and the bodies of water. Soil erosion is a natural process but accelerates with deforestation. Trees and plants act as a guard when it comes to slowing down water as it runs off the land.

The roots in the soil bind it and prevent it from washing away. When there is an absence of vegetation due to deforestation, it causes the topsoil to erode more rapidly. Making it difficult for any plant life to grow in the less nutritious soil. The trees are like an anchor to the soil with their roots which causes widespread erosion if the trees aren’t present. The roots prevent soil compaction and help water soak into the ground instead of overflowing. When the wind and rain affect the erosion of soil the most.

The tree’s leaves reduce the forces of the wind and rain in certain areas. When the trees are taken away and strong winds come the ground becomes dry and the roots are no longer present to hold the soil in place. Activities such as logging, ranching, and mining can lead to widespread fast-spreading erosion of soils. Logging companies clear forests and farmers allow their cows to overgraze. Not only that but agriculture, even though farming replaces forests with crops, the roots of non-native plants like cotton and soybeans do little to hold forests soils in place. It is evident that deforestation needs to be slowed down because it’s affecting the climate changes, water cycle, and soil erosion. Due to how the world’s forests are, the majority of the world’s forests are compounded in a small number of nations. Ultimately, it is up to us to research our country’s position and formulate an opinion.

There are three sub-issues: Climate change, soil erosion, and the disruption of the water cycle. All of the issues come hand-in-hand. You can consider researching national efforts for developing environmentally safe agricultural practices. Our country’s afforestation or reforestation programs may also provide specific ideas for how nations can effectively reduce the rate of deforestation. In addressing environmental impacts, take a look at recent initiatives by the UN such as the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme), which was established in 2008. UN-REDD provides developing nations with incentives for reducing levels of deforestation and investing in carbon projects. The expansion of UN-REDD or the creation of similar projects could provide steps in the right direction. Finding the best solutions to deforestation will require the collaborative efforts of both local and global bodies. During this, we should focus on encouraging nations to develop policies and practices that will ensure sustainable management of the world’s forests for many years to come.

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