Impact of Deforestation

1 January 2017

Many people believe that the cause of global warming is from the use of fossil fuels. Although it is true that pollution is caused by fossil fuels which release pollutants that cause global warming, the main contributor is really deforestation. Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees in order to make more space for pastures or for industries and households of the increasing human population. The process of cutting down trees is not only detrimental to the atmosphere but also to the water cycle and wildlife.

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Even though deforestation may not be heard of as causing global warming as often as burning oils and gases, it is a huge factor to the climate changes on earth and needs to be prevented before things get way too out of control. First off, lets learn a little about global warming before continuing to explain how deforestation causes it. Global warming or climate change is defined as the increase of the average temperature on Earth. As the earth heats up, natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts and floods are likely to happen more frequently.

As previously mentioned, most people have the assumption that global warming is caused by fossil fuels. Statistically, between 25 and 30 percent of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere each year, that means 1. 6 billion tonnes is caused by deforestation. Thus being said, scientists are already seeing huge changes faster then they had anticipated and the damage of deforestation is growing immensely. Deforestation is a major contributor to many things, not just global warming. It also effects emission of greenhouse gases, global climate change, carbon stores in soil.

It reduces net oxygen levels, and it effects biosphere instability. Unfortunately, all these things play their own role in negatively effecting the world as we humans and the wildlife know it. There are many things that cause deforestation some examples are the need to increase land for settlements and urbanization, for industrial use and timber, large-scale conversion into agricultural grounds, corruption and unequal distribution of wealth, cattle ranching and experimentation with forestry. It is very sad that such large amounts of untouched, natural forest are being destroyed for the enjoyment of humans.

Naturally occurring forest and woodlands cover about 21 percent of the earth’s land mass. However, about 1. 8 million square feet of natural forest are being destroyed every minute. Most of the deforestation is happening in the moist tropical rainforest. According to the FAO figures, some 13 million forest worldwide are lost every year, almost entirely in the tropics (Matthews). Regrettably, the process of cutting down trees still remains high in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. There are numerous smaller factors that have been created because of deforestation. One of the many factors is climate change and rise of temperature.

When the trees in the moist tropical forests are cut down, they cause the forest to basically “dry out” leaving them no longer moist Therefore, the earth’s temperature and humidity are altered. For many, this is a concern because this is changing the climate faster than some living things are able to adapt. “Over the last 100 years, the average air temperature near the Earth’s surface has risen by a little less than one degree Celsius or 1. 3 degree Fahrenheit… This climate change would increase the number of people suffering from death, disease and injury from heatwaves, floods,storms and droughts” (Venkataramanan).

However climate change and temperatures rising are not the only factor making a negative impact. The release of CO2 and other pollutants are a huge variable in this equation as well. Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. In order to keep the carbon dioxide levels low we need the trees. Forests are like filters, to remove CO2 from the air the carbon dioxide is stored in the trees.

However, when one tree is cut down it sends all that carbon it had been storing right back into the air, increasing the total carbon emission in the atmosphere. Therefore, the more deforestation that is being done more pollution is being added to our earth. Even though to some people cutting down trees is a way of life by giving them a job in order to support themselves and their families, they are doing more harm to our environment and our earth then they are doing good. Not only does deforestation release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but it also destroys wildlife species and their habitats.

Since most of the deforestation happens in tropical forest this means that a lot of already endangered species are becoming extinct. Many unique types of wildlife such as big cats and certain breeds of birds live in the trees that are being cut down. Because of this, as a result, entire species are often lost with their habitats. “Deforestation has not only resulted in irreversible damage to the natural habitat of many wildlife species, but also in the loss of biodiversity and increase in aridity” (Borade). With all the wrong doing that has been created by this process there are many ways to help prevent deforestation.

First off, humans who are against deforestation need to spread the awareness fact of human survival. The ecology and environment have to be maintained and not be bothered with in any way if we want to continue living on our earth and to save the animals that are still existing. Multiple steps should be taken individually and by the government in order to prevent deforestation from happening and preserve what still remains. A few steps that have been gathered up in order to prevent our forest from being destroyed are as follows; Grow more trees!

If everyone planted more trees in their yards that would help greatly. The more trees the better, remember the trees are like a filter without them carbon dioxide will just flood our atmosphere. The only trees that should be cut are the old, dying ones, all the young ones should be left alone to grow. Next, is spreading awareness. There should be stage campaigns on how deforestation has affected humans harmfully. On a government level there should be presentations at schools and colleges to inform students and young adults the negative impact that deforestation has on our environment.

On an individual level communities can start organizations, people from around the neighborhood could get together during the weekends and plant more trees around their community and children should join “Save the Forest” campaigns. The younger they are introduced to this information the more likely they are to grow up with good habits to help our environment and turn our future around for the better. Recycling is also another big help. Everyone should start recycling paper, plastic,glass,etc. all the time. This should be something that is done not only in households but in businesses, schools an everywhere else that accumulates any trash.

Also, if people were to start buying more recycled products then the demand for raw materials would drop which would mean less trees would be cut down. The last step is for farmers; follow crop rotation. Farmers should use more environmentally friendly techniques like crop rotation. Instead of using two pieces of land to farm one crop, farmers should use one piece of land and farm two different crops. This would cut down the demand for farmland also resulting in less deforestation and the soil would become more fertile.

One can also help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely (Venkataramanan). In conclusion, deforestation is a great cause to global warming. Although it has a bunch of little factors to it like climate change and rising temperatures, pollution from carbon dioxide and other pollutants and it causes loss of biodiversity. Deforestation is doing great harm to our earth and needs to be prevented. If the human race wants to be able to live for the future then somethings needs to change before the act of cutting trees takes over and destroys our environment and world.

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