In this article, we are going to discuss the deforestation, causes and effects of deforestation.
What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the huge destruction of trees in the forest. Trees are usually cleared to make room for farmland, roads and urban growth. Deforestation may also happen due to the harvesting of natural resources like timber and palm oil. All deforestation doesn't have intentional because certain cases may be caused by the combination of human and natural causes.
Deforestation also has serious environmental impacts. Although forests still make up 30% of the Earth, deforestation activities are losing an estimated 18 million acres of land each year. It has caused the degradation of land and soil while displacing animals and plants that depend on forests.
Why are forests important?
There are many reasons for the importance of forests. Some of them are as follows:
Causes of Deforestation
Deforestation is caused by either human or natural. Natural disasters like natural forest fires or parasite related diseases can lead to deforestation. However, human activities are important causes of deforestation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), almost 80% of deforestation has been caused by agricultural expansion. Some of the main causes are as follows:
Agriculture is the main cause of deforestation and responsible for almost 80% of deforestation. In developed countries, 33% of the deforestation caused by agriculture results from subsistence agriculture, such as local peasant agriculture.
About 40% of forest destruction is caused by commercial or industrial agriculture searching space for fruit, fiber or biofuel production like beef, maize, cotton, soybeans, palm oil, and sugar cane. It is also especially interesting to note that about 14% of global deforestation is assumed to be caused by livestock. The key reasons they have to do with broad areas include raising livestock and growing their (soy-based) food.
Fires burn millions of hectares of forest worldwide each year. Fires are a part of nature, but forests that are degraded are particularly vulnerable. These involve heavily logged rainforests, peat forests, or forest fires that have been suppressed for years, causing unnatural vegetation accumulation that makes the fire burn more intensely.
Due to rising demand and high mineral prices, the effect of mining on tropical forests is increasing. Significant infrastructure building, such as bridges, railway lines and power stations, also follows mining projects, placing more strain on forests and freshwater habitats.
The destruction of forests is both a cause and a consequence of climate change. For example, by drying out tropical rain forests and growing fire damage in boreal forests, climate change will damage forests. Climate change is already affecting biodiversity in the forest, a danger which is likely to rise.
Over-harvesting of wood for domestic use and trade purposes significantly destroys forests.
Effects of Deforestation
It has many effects on natural resources and ecosystems and creates serious problems for the adaptability of the planet. Some of the main effects of deforestation are as follows:
Trees are also important to our local water cycles, as they keep returning water vapor to the atmosphere. The soil stays moist as the rainwater flows through the soil. The fertile soil of several layers of trees is kept in place by complex root systems. The land is directly exposed to the sun with the clearing of tree cover, making it dry. Without trees, erosion also happens, sweeps the land into surrounding rivers and streams. Forests function as natural water purification plants. Soil erosion causes soil to be exposed to pollutants that spill into the water system, which damages our drinking water quality.
The oceans become more acidic by increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere due to deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Beaches are now 30% more acidic after the Industrial Revolution, posing ocean organisms and habitats at extreme risk.
In today's time, 52% of land worldwide used for food production is affected by soil erosion. In the long run, low yields and food insecurity will result from the lack of good nutritious soil.
Increase in Global Warming
Trees perform an important role in controlling global warming. The trees use greenhouse gases to maintain the balance of the environment. With the continuous deforestation, the ratio of greenhouse gases has increased in the atmosphere that increases global warming problems.
Loss of Biodiversity
Deforestation refers to a huge loss of biodiversity. In tropical rainforests, about 80% of the global biodiversity is found. Forests not only have wildlife habitats but also encourage the preservation of medicine.
Preventive Measures of Deforestation
There are various steps to prevent deforestation. Some of them are as follows:
For certain purposes, reforestation is a process of planting trees in a forest region where the trees have been cut. To save the world, we all need to realize the value of reforestation and enforce it. Tree planting will reduce the various causes and impacts of deforestation, global warming, pollution, greenhouse effects, etc.
Deforestation can be fought via awareness. Educational campaigns can only be a clear example of deforestation awareness.
Follow the rules and regulations
Strict rules and regulations should be in effect against those involved in deforestation activities. People also need to be committed to compliance with these laws and regulations since everyone has to protect the environment.
Use of renewable forest resources
We can grow plants as a source of wood from secondary forest growth. The use of renewable local wood and charcoal resources for cooking or heating is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels.