Over the years, deforestation has been a menace to the entire global community.
Deforestation, clearance, clearcutting or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees from land which is then converted to non-forest use. Even more, it affects plants, animals, and the entire ecosystem.
The value of nature is affected because of its adverse effects. As the effects become more glaring on daily basis, the concern of world leaders and citizens is how can we collectively mitigate the effects of cutting down trees.
Causes of Deforestation
Several factors have been identified to be the causes of deforestation. These factors can be attributed to both human activities and natural phenomenon. Human activities, like mining, drilling, etc., affect the ecosystems of the world.
Some of the factors are:
- Agriculture and Animal Grazing
Food production is essential to human existence. Although it is one of the agricultural activities that adversely affect forests around the globe. For example, in Malaysia, the production of palm oil is the major contributing resource to the nation’s GDP. And as such, large landmass is cleared for oil palm plantations which in return affects the value of nature.
In addition, the grazing of animals also affects the ecosystem. This is because while animals feed on the vegetation in the forests, they sometimes kill other vulnerable nature.
- Natural Disasters
Nature’s activities affect the ecosystems positively and negatively. In the case of deforestation, activities like landslides, fire outbreak, erosion, etc., affect the forest negatively. Every year, large forest land is destroyed. Majorly in Amazon and the Australian forests, millions of acres of forests are burnt yearly due to fire outbreaks. As these fire outbreaks occur, both plants and animals are destroyed. It also affects the water cycles and fertility of the soil in the forest.
- Illegal Felling of Trees
Tree felling is a major source of income for people living around the forests. And as such, millions of trees are fell in forests around the globe every year. These trees are cut and sold to businesses that require wood as their major inputs in producing their respective outputs. As more people join in cutting down trees illegally, the population of trees keeps reducing. Illegal felling of trees has adverse and unwanted effects on our environment.
Effects of Deforestation
Since forests play a major role in keeping the earth safe and conducive to living, any slight change in its composition will negatively affect the ecosystems. Here are some of its adverse effects:
- Disruption of Human Activities and Livelihood
Virtually all human activities are affected by deforestation. According to student researches: it’s difficult to live in areas affected by the problem of deforestation. This is because the water level of such an area reduces as a result of the adverse effects it has on the environment. This eventually leads to scarcity of water, which in return, will affect human activities and livelihood. Research has shown that regions of the world with thick rainforests have a good supply of clean and potable water.
- Extinction of Plant and Animal Species
Plants and animals are not immune to the negative effects of deforestation. Several plant and animal species have gone into extinction because of the unfavorable conditions in the biosphere. As the forests become open to deforestation, the number of plant and animal species will reduce, and eventually they go to extinction.
Forests play vital roles in sustaining the water cycle in the environment. When the water cycle is disrupted, it negatively impacts the balance between the water in the atmosphere and the water in the land. And as such, it results in drought.
In addition, as the water level in the ground and atmosphere reduces, vegetation finds it hard to grow. And when there are reduced plants and trees, erosion control becomes much more difficult, especially in drought-prone regions of the world.
- Increased Pollution
Forests produce oxygen to help reduce the effects of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide. The rainforests of Brazil and other forests around the world contribute largely to the oxygen and carbon emission balance. As these forests are cleared and burnt for human activities, they emit carbon to the environment instead of absorbing it. Even more, this further leads to temperature rise around the world.
Five Ways Humanity Can Save Nature
Since the effects of deforestation have become more pronounced in recent years, humans have become more involved in finding lasting solutions to save ecosystems and nature. Some of the ways to get the earth back on the forest restoration track include:
- Trees Replanting
Tree replanting will help mitigate the effects of deforestation on the ecosystems. When trees are fell, adequate measures should be put in place to ensure that new trees are planted. Government and organizations around the world can incentivize the replanting of trees.
- Formation of Favorable Forest Policies
World organizations like the National Geographic Explorer Topher White have come up with ways to fight illegal logging and mining of communities around the forests. Also, government agencies that are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the forest reserves around the globe can formulate policies that encourage forests regrowth. These policies can be localized in foreign languages to ensure full compliance from the communities around the forests. There are also non-profit organizations such as One Tree Planted to get involved with directly to help with deforestation.
- Sustainable Agricultural Practices
As the population of the world keeps increasing, modern and sustainable agricultural practices should be adopted. When these new methods of agriculture are implemented, fewer land will be required for planting. Hence, there will be no need to clear the dense forest regions of the world to increase crop production.
- Recycling of Wooden Products
As more people become environmentally conscious and friendly, fewer trees will be cut to produce wooden products. Even more, recycling of products gotten from wood should be implemented across the globe because this will reduce the demand for wood.
- Education on the Benefits of Forest Conservation
At all levels of education, the benefits of forest conservation and restoration should be taught. This will lead to more people becoming more aware of the adverse effects of their activities on the forest reserves of the world.
Deforestation has become a major problem that affects all parts of the world. Since industrialization has increased over the years, its effects have become more pronounced. Several factors contribute to this problem, but human activities have the greatest impact. As more people are now concerned about the environment, steps should be taken to reduce the adverse effects of deforestation.