What is Deforestation?
Cutting of trees on a large scale from a forest is called deforestation.
Deforestation is a massive threat to our tropical rainforests, and it affects them on a vast scale. It involves the removal of trees, but the current rate of deforestation is ridiculously high, and it is starting to command more global attention.
But first, before we go in the details of why and how deforestation affect us negatively. We will see how deforestation helps us.
Deforestation provides Freeland which means we have more space for farming, feeding cattle, make more buildings and industries for our use.
Why is deforestation happening?
There are plenty of different reasons why deforestation is occurring in tropical rainforests. They include:
1. A Growing Population
As the population grows in the areas around tropical rainforests, trees are usually felled to make more room for buildings and agriculture.
2. Large Projects
Unfortunately, large projects often call for a number of trees to be removed. These include building dams so that hydro-electric power can be generated and setting up areas where ores can be mined.
3. Commercial Deforestation
Commercial deforestation is something that we can see happening a lot in tropical rainforests. This usually involves the removal of trees so that people can make money by selling them. Unfortunately, this is rarely sustainable.
We can see a lot of trees getting removed from tropical rainforests to make room for agriculture. Sometimes, this involves commercial agriculture. This means that people seek to make a profit. Sometimes, agriculture is for subsistence, so that local people can support themselves.
When human activities rip off a large area for finding minerals or elements of commercial use, it is called mining. Mining is one of the significant causes of deforestation because it requires a large area of land to be cleared. With the growing demand for minerals, trees are cut in masses.
6. Forest Fires
Millions of hectares of forests are destroyed by forest fires every year. It has a far-reaching negative impact on biodiversity, climate, and economy.
The Effects of Deforestation
Deforestation Affects the Economy
There are many negative consequences of deforestation, but one of the few positives is that deforestation usually creates jobs. Plenty of funds is made from commercial deforestation, and some of the reasons for clearing trees in the rainforest is also to create jobs.
Unfortunately, this level of deforestation also deters tourists from visiting an area. It can directly result in the loss of animals, plants and other features that local people need to survive. Naturally, this opens the door for exploitation.
Deforestation Affects the Environment
The ways in which deforestation affects the environment in and around tropical rainforests are quite unique. For example, during the deforestation process, a lot of vegetation is usually burnt. This adds CO2 to the atmosphere, and that adds to the greenhouse effect. If the trees were left, then they would remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
We can also see a lot of soil erosion in areas where trees have been felled. This is because the roots of the trees hold the soil together, and without them, it can easily be washed away by the daily levels of rainfall. The canopy would usually catch water, and the roots of the trees would usually absorb it. Without this, the nutrients that are present in the soil can be lost.
Loss of Habitat and Culture
Deforestation takes away the home from lots of animal and plant species leading to their extinction. Also, the tribal communities living in the forests lose their habitat.
Plants provide a protective cover to the soil. The nutrient cycle maintains the fertility of the soil. Nutrient enters the soil with the help of rainwater. Roots of the plants absorb these nutrients from the soil. The dead and decayed leaves from the trees also form the main part of the nutritive layer called humus.
However, when the trees are cut, there are no roots to hold the surface layer of the earth, and the nutritive layer runs off with the rainwater leading to loss of fertile soil. This is called soil erosion.
Further by the process of soil leaching in which the nutrients are pushed downwards in the earth, causes the top layer of the soil to become infertile.
How can we cope up with or improve our situation?
- Replanting or Reforestation – The best way to bring back the balance is to bring back the trees we have sacrificed for our growth. The more we grow the number of trees, the better it will be for our future generations. We can’t be selfish and think about just us. Sustainable development is the right kind of development in which not only we develop and use our nature to out benefit but also leave it for our future generations.
- Ban on deforestation – Getting benefits from planting trees today will be beneficial but won’t solve the problems right now. So, we need to protect the plants and trees before it is too late. There should be at least ban on cutting the entire forest.
- Better government policies – If we want to effectively control deforestation, interference of government is essential. The government can make law abiding rule and policies to protect the forest cover of their respective country. There should be strict punishments against the violation of these laws.
- Create Awareness – Campaigns should be organised for the awareness of people regarding the environment. It can be done at both the governmental and organisational level. Many non-profit organisations are working in this area. Many environmental activists are also continuously working to create awareness among people.
What can you do at your level to help our environment to get better?
- Plant a tree at least every year.
- Do not waste pages of your notebooks.
- Use recycled paper.
- Use cloth napkins instead of tissues made of paper.
- Use organic fertilizers to increase the lifespan of trees and to avoid side effects of chemical fertilizers on environment.