Deforestation, in simple words, is the removal of trees and clearing the forests deliberately. Governments and organizations remove the trees and forests for the development of farms, ranches, and urbanization. About 31 percent of the land on the planet earth is still has forests.
Almost 75 percent of the surface of the earth is oceans, and only 25 percent is land. We need land for farming, building residential colonies, and set up commercial industries. There are many good and bad reasons for removing the trees and forests from our landscapes.
Although deforestation is essential for many reasons, as mentioned above, it has many adverse effects on our atmosphere and ecosystem. This post explains both the causes and effects of deforestation on humans and other species.
Top reasons for deforestation
There are many reasons for deforestation due to which governments of many countries allow organizations to clear forests.
Land for agriculture
As the population increases, we need more food and water. To produce more food we need to increase the crop yields every year. Therefore, food Farmers and agriculture businesses need more land for agriculture. Governments cut forests to create more and more land for agriculture and satisfy the food requirements of growing population. The rise in worldwide commodity demand, such as palm oil and soybeans, is driving manufacturers to clear forests on a large scale. In the Guinness World Records 2008, Indonesia, the largest palm oil producer, was named the “Fastest Forest Destroyer.”
With the growth in the livestock business and cattle farming, we need more land for livestock ranching. The livestock farmers and businesses need large lands for livestock ranching to satisfying the increasing need for meat and dairy products.
Timber and Logging
Timber is essential for many purposes, including furniture and construction of buildings. Logging is a major driver of deforestation. Therefore, it is illegal in many countries. However, many countries are clearing forests to get large amounts of wood for construction and furniture. As there is no other resource for wood, we need to cut trees to fulfill our needs.
Construction of roads
Deforestation is also sometimes necessary for the construction of roads. We need to clear a significant area of forests to make roads for connecting different cities and countries. The 5,404-km Interoceanic Highway, connecting Brazil to Peru, is an example of such type of highway that runs through Amazon rainforest. The road construction company has cut a significant portion of the forest to create an international highway from Brazil to Peru.
River Valley Projects
During the execution of multipurpose river valley projects, vast forest regions are lost in the big reservoirs constructed behind the dams. A comprehensive region covered by forest is submerged in water. Due to this, not only the forests, but also the ecological balance of the nearby areas is disturbed.
As the global population is increasing, there is less land for accommodation. With the increase in population, there has been a rise in global demands for housing and agriculture. To satisfy the demands of housing and accommodation, we need to clear forests that lead to deforestation.
Adverse Effects of deforestation
Although clearing the forests is necessary to satisfy the needs of the global population, it has some adverse and irreversible effects on our environment and ecosystem.
Soil erosion and flooding
Trees also maintain water and topsoil, providing the rich nutrients needed to maintain extra forest life.
The soil erodes and washes away without them, causing farmers to move forward and perpetuate the cycle. In the aftermath of these unsustainable agricultural practices, the barren soil left behind becomes more vulnerable to flooding, particularly in coastal areas.
Loss of habitats
70 percent of animals and crops are there in forests, and many are unable to survive the deforestation. One of the most hazardous impacts of deforestation is the loss of animal and plant species due to destruction of habitats. Not only do we lose the species we know, but the loss of unknown species contributes to a higher loss.
Increase in greenhouse gases
In addition to habitat loss, the absence of trees also enables the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Currently, South America’s tropical rainforests are accountable for 20% of Earth’s oxygen and disappear at a pace of 4 hectares a decade. The implications will become even more serious if these rates are not stopped and reversed.
Disturbance of the water cycle
The trees also assist controlling the water level in the atmosphere by regulating the water cycle. With a significant decrease in the trees left, there is less water in the air to return to the soil owing to deforestation. This, in turn, creates dryer land and the failure to grow plants, an ironic twist when taken against the reality that 80% deforestation is a result of small-scale farming and livestock ranching.
Destruction of Homeland or tribals
As large number of trees is cleared away, enabling exposed earth and destroying the habitats of countless species. The indigenous tribes that rely on them to maintain their life are also at significant risk.
The loss of trees has a direct and immediate impact on their lifestyle that we will never understand in the modern world, despite our dependence on what the rainforest offers.
Deforestation is different than removing a tree from your yard using services like tree removal Kings Langley. It is both a boon and a curse for humanity. For some reasons, deforestation is necessary, such as increasing agriculture, housing projects, and roads. On the other hand, it is depleting the habitats of many species, producing the greenhouse gases, and depleting the ozone layer. Overall deforestation does more harm than good to humans and other species on the planet.
It has a direct and immediate effect on our lifestyle. Therefore, governments of countries need to impose limits on deforestation and find alternate solutions to fulfill the needs of the growing population. Moreover, we need to plant more trees in the residential and industrial areas to counterbalance the losses due to deforestation.