Deforestation is the clearing of trees on a large area of land, in other words destroying forest in order to make space or land for other uses. Forests take over around thirty percent of the earth’s land, but every yearly nearly the half the size of England is degraded. But is it really a problem needed to be addressed? Do we really care if forest completely vanish away? Does it put an impact on our lives? Well actually it does, forest provide us with many resources which include wood, writing paper, and fabric that we use in our daily lives.
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Trees play a huge impact in trying to keep the environment stable. They provide us with oxygen, provide other living organisms with habitats and thus play a major role in the climate change. Anyhow, deforestation is a major environmental issue needed to be addressed.
Thirty percent of the land area on our planet is covered by forests. They provide humans and wildlife with oxygen and homes. Within an interview with William F. Laurance, he states that around 1.6 billion people rely on forest because it provides fresh water, food, shelter, clothing and even medications that can help cure the sick. Thus many of the earth’s endangered and threatened species rely on these forests for their survival. However forest all around the world are being shredded and completely being cut down, eliminating these amazing benefits. Deforestation can occurs in many different ways including fires, unsustainable logging, degradation caused by climate change, and clear cutting for agriculture, ranching and development. This affects a large quantity of any living organisms living in the forests and an enormous human population that benefit from the trees. An article by by the World Wild Life states, We’re losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute (WorldWildLife, 1). This statement gives you a rough estimate on how fast forests are being degraded.
Forest have a major impact in our climate change reasons are due to the trees that decrease and possibly eliminate carbon dioxide that would otherwise stay in the atmosphere and cause a series of changes in our climate. Without forests, this carbon sink function will not have the same results. Thus it is estimated that deforestation produces about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Tropical rainforests are currently having a major problem dealing with deforestation and this is mostly because these type of forests provide homes for our Earth’s biodiversity. According to World Wildlife, …around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching (World Wildlife, 1). For example, due to cattle ranching in the last half century 17% of the Amazon forest has been degraded. Deforestation is occurring more near populated areas and roads, however even solitary areas are now been degraded when valuable resources are found in that piece of land.
Deforestation can occur in just a matter of seconds, similar to when a fire destroys land or when a forest goes through the process of clear cutting to make space for oil palm plantations. Deforestation can also be caused by the increase of degradation of forests which causes temperatures to rise and also contribute to climate change caused by human activities. Meanwhile there is a low percentage of forests being destroyed in some countries, there are still many out there who remain at high numbers and are a threat to our world and future generations.
From the very first step of harvesting to the very last step of processing to sales, State laws manage the assembly and business of timber products. Removing lumber from protected areas and over harvesting including species are some ways that the laws are violated. In every country of this world illegal logging occurs more common than what is actually legal. These actions threatens and destroys rainforest which include the Amazon, Congo Basin, Indonesia and the Russian Far East, yet not only is it destroying the amazon but many other around the world that are popular and provide many useful resources to humans. Illegal logging also decreases the price for lumber which makes it hard for companies that are actually harvesting legally make a profit out of their business. Disadvantaged communities living close around forest are more exposed to human rights violations when non native people try to access timber illegally.
Fires occur consistently and are not always a major problem to forest landscapes, at times they are beneficial, but these benefits become extinct if they occur at the wrong location, at a fast rate, at the wrong time. Over thousands and millions acres of forest all around our planet are disappearing and being degraded every year. Most of degradation is due to both logging and agriculture. The benefits of fire come when it is used for the purpose of creating areas for agriculture. Much of the structure and formation of forests are due to fires, yet they also provide negative side effects which include; a wider range of threaten biodiversity, they open the availability for invasive species to sustain in the environment, harms the water cycle and soil fertility, and causes many health issues to people living around those areas.
As the Earth’s population increases at a rapid pace, huge demands for food are to be expected. Agricultural products such as soy and palm oil,are used in almost every product starting from lipsticks to biofuels. These demands has brought many reasons to convert forest into agricultural farmlands. This means that whenever a forest is converted for agricultural use, a forest may never return back to its original content including all species that once lived there. Wood, however, continues to be the most common fuel desired for cooking and heating many of the necessary things that need to be heated. Yet, nearly half of the illegal removing of timber is due to the consumption of fuelwood.
The degradation of forests causes a wide variety of damages and affects life both locally and in every country of our planet. According to a visual resource, How Deforestation is Affecting Us, forests help eliminate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, but it becomes a problem when forests are degraded and these greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. In this video we learn how climate changes due to the degradation of trees. Temperatures begin to rise, and changes in the patterns of weather and water are contributed due to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, climate change has the power to increase rate of extremely dangerous natural events. One example is given in the country of Sumatra where forests forest are continually being degraded at a rapid rate than they are replenished, this then affects high CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia. Thus it also contributes to a change in climate which causes many species to lose their homes and find new locations where they can find available resources. Many will die but there is a good amount that will be able to make a change in their lives.
By maintaining water equilibrium within both the surface and the air, forests contribute to an important impact in our environment. However when these trees are cut down and removed without being replanted, the equilibrium within the water cycle is destroyed, this then effects and alters precipitation and river flow. The absence of trees affects the rivers when the soil doesn’t have a place to stay and runs off into rivers and streams. And just when people think it causes no effect due to agriculture plantations replacing the trees, they don’t know that they are harming the environment even more because agriculture plants cannot hold as much of the soil that trees hold on to. Plants that creates a major damage to soil erosion include; coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean, and wheat. Many environmentalists have concluded that around one third of arid land was caused due to soil erosion since the mid 20th century. As this continues, farmers and agriculture workers proceed their way into converting forest for agriculture use causing a greater amount of soil erosion.
Tropical Rainforest are most vulnerable to deforestation and contain nearly eighty percent of the Earth’s found species. This leaves out many species without a habitat or a place suitable for them to survive and reproduce. These species them become an easy access for hunter to kill and start making their way into the endangered species list and eventually could possibly become extinct. As small as local deforestation, it can still cause many species that are only found locally to go extinct.
Protecting our forest and enforcing the laws can help protect many of the living plants and species that need the trees for their sustainability. Promoting sustainable energy can also be a part in helping reduce deforestation. By using less and recycled wood we can help create a decent amount of bioenergy without destroying forests. Thus we can use other alternatives to create energy that won’t degrade the trees. Lastly and most importantly we can stop illegal logging. Illegal logging is the most easy but less efficient way to reduce deforestation since there are many humans who don’t care about their future health and risks they are building, they are more focused on what their currently needs are. Yet,it isn’t too late to let the rest of the population know what they are doing to their environment.
Forests contribute to our daily lives and needs, they provide the resources we need in order to live in a sustainable environment. We depend on trees heavily for our survival starting from the air we respirate to the wood we use. Forest provide a large quantity of resources for humans and provide a variety of habitats for wildlife. They create the environment for everyone all around the world and offer watershed protection, timber and non-timber products, prevent soil erosion and keeps global warming on check. Nevertheless, deforestation is a major issue needed to be addressed in return for us humans to live in a sustainable environment.
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