Essay on Effects of Deforestation
‘Forests are the world’s air-conditioning system – the lungs of the planets – and we are on the verge of switching it off.’ – Prince Charles
What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees from the forests and using them for things that will do irreversible damage. Deforestation occurs when there is no intention of replanting the trees. In such a scenario, clearcutting plays a crucial role. Clear Cutting is when trees are cut but at the same time re-planted in a correctly organized manner. Chopping and burning are the methods of deforestation.
The most affected region by deforestation is the tropical rainforest. A single hectare of tropical rainforest holds a whooping 480 species of trees. The loss is immense and irreversible.
“The silence of the rainforest is a double deforestation of the mind’s music, medicine and knowledge” – Jay Griffiths
Almost 50% of the Earth’s original forest cover is gone. ALARMING!
What are the major causes of deforestation?
Deforestation can be caused by both human and natural processes. Needless to say, humans have outnumbered the natural process.
Natural causes of deforestation are out of human control. These mainly include earthquakes, and other natural calamities which result in the uprooting of trees and ultimately decrease the leftover plant life. Deforestation also causes the spread of diseases from animals and parasites which are deadly for certain plant species.
For the human process of deforestation, the list is endless. To start with, the major cause of deforestation is agricultural operations and cattle overgrazing.
- Slash and Burn deforestation is very common where forests are burned to clear the land and the ashes left behind, in turn, fertilize the land for future agricultural activities. Overgrazing of cattle can lead to unproductive land with erosion.
- The Paper industry has been one of the great drivers leading to deforestation. Paper is made from tree fiber leading to the cutting down of trees.
- Logging of timber is a process where trees are cut down to meet the demands of the furniture and construction market. Since these logs need to be transported for further process the need arises to construct roads. Thereby cutting down of more and more trees takes place.
- Gold, copper diamonds, and several precious gems and stones are found in tropical forests. Mining leads to the cutting down of trees, animal hunting, explosions, and many more ways that lead to soil erosion.
- The rising population has accelerated the need for more food, houses, etc. which has led to the clearing down of trees.
- Climate change is a major factor. Rainforests are very humid due to the presence of water vapour along with oxygen, but when the trees are cut down it leads to an imbalanced ratio which brings down the humidity level. This causes the trees to dry up and thereby increasing the chances of a forest fire.
What are the effects of deforestation?
The causes of deforestation have led to many more severe side effects. We are gradually pushing mother nature to revert back in a manner unsuitable to mankind. Sadly, most of the time the damage is irreversible, but it’s never too late to start.
- Destroying trees has led to increasing Greenhouse Gases like carbon dioxide which disturbs the process of photosynthesis. Burning trees leads to the release of stored carbon dioxide which warms up the climate and ultimately leads to global warming.
- The importance of forest canopy to the forest ecosystem is immense as it accommodates and protects several plants and animal species and forest floor which ultimately slows down the process of soil erosion. This gives scope for the growth of more and more trees. All this is at stake because of deforestation.
- Deforestation leads to land degradation, thereby losing fertility and left with no other use. This is a very big drawback considering the limited percentage of agricultural land leftover.
- One of the major long-lasting and devastating effects of deforestation is climate change. There are uneven seasons. This gives way to catastrophic floods because there are very few trees to hold the rainwater. In the absence of trees, rainwater gets accumulated into the landmasses causing floods. Snow in the mountain regions is melting due to global warming.
- Deforestation has led to an increasing in pollution levels because there are few trees to clean up the polluted air. This has started taking a toll on human health.
- The animal kingdom has also been the victim of deforestation with no fault of its own. Animals flourish when they have the independence and freedom to roam about in open forests. That’s where they belong. In the absence of forests, animals have started entering the nearby villages to hunt for food causing human deaths. We enter their homes, they enter ours!
Ways to prevent deforestation?
Let’s move from deforestation to reforestation and bring about a revolution. We need to lead by positive example for our younger generation.
It’s time to act civilized and end deforestation. We should consider different ways of economic growth apart from deforestation by focusing more on reforestation.
- The governments of all nations should come together and implement sustainable land-use policies and pass laws that forbid the sale of products that lead to deforestation. This can come into force with self-realization from the consumer end.
- Supporting campaigns that protect the rights of indigenous people as they are the frontline communities who protect the forest because it’s ultimately their home.
- People should stress on buying local products which ultimately reduces the stress of overproduction leading to unethical ways of increasing production, thereby decreasing pressure on the international market. Moreover, these local products will be healthy, fresh, easily accessible, and budget-friendly.
- The secondary forestation that is the plan now, no way equates to the primary forests. However, continuous measures need to be taken to protect the biodiversity, stabilize the soil, normalize the water cycle, and ultimately restore the ecosystem.
Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting trees is simple!
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