Nearly thirty one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by forests. These forests are responsible for providing the planet and its inhabitants with vital resources such as producing oxygen and absorbing emitted carbon dioxide. Forests are also home to nearly half of all known species as well as some 300 million people whose survival depends almost entirely on their native woods. Many of our Earth’s forests and rainforests are under threat from the eradicating process of deforestation. Deforestation is the removal, loss, or destruction of Earth’s forests on a massive scale which mainly consists of the conversion of forest to land used for agriculture. Direct causes of deforestation can be natural causes such as from hurricanes, fires, and floods as well as from intentional human activities such as the expansion of agriculture, oil and timber extraction, road and infrastructure construction, and mining. The indirect factors that also serve as a root cause of deforestation include a large growth in population, poverty, poor government policies, and a lack of an alternative livelihood source. As well as a loss of habitat for millions of species, deforestation also has a negative impact on the environment. One of the many consequences of deforestation is soil erosion, a major environmental and agricultural worldwide issue. Rainforest trees are able to act as an anchor for soil with their roots.
When these trees are uprooted, it is no longer able to retain water and nutrients nor provide the soil shade from the sun, leaving the soil dry and deficient of proper nutrients (Echolls, Soil Erosion). The fertile topsoil is then able to blow or wash away from flash floods during heavy tropical rains leaving the land barren and unable to regenerate future vegetation. Soil erosion has also led to an increase in pollution and sedimentation in neighboring streams and rivers. The excessive accumulation of sediment in these bodies of water may then lead to flooding. Deforestation may also be to blame for severe and frequent droughts. Throughout rainforests, moisture that is collected on the leaves, branches, and trunks of trees is able to be stored within its soil. When the moisture evaporates into the atmosphere through the process of transpiration, rain clouds are then able to form which then release rain back into the forests. As well as being a main contributor to rainfall, forests have the ability to influence the amount as well as the timing of its downpours. Simply put, without the trees to supply moisture, clouds cannot form resulting in a severe reduction of rainfall.
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