Forests are the principal source of clean air, purified water, and home for millions of animals, insects and birds. It covers more than 30 % of the earth surface and provides food, medicine and source of earning for millions of people around the globe. The actual worth of replenished earth with green forests is way behind the ignorant minds. Human on this earth have been deforesting earth from thousands of years to fulfill their needs. Sadly, half of the global forests have been vanished from the surface of the earth over 10,000 years. Most of it was just in last 50 years, according to the WWF. In early life humans were doing deforestation for building homes, bridges, making all kind of furniture. But in modern world fast anthropogenic activities leads to massive deforestation. Causes of deforestation can either be direct or indirect.
Some of direct causes are natural like storms, wildfires, insects’ infection and floods. Sometimes natural deforestation cannot be counted in deforestation because it can eventually grow back with respect to time. While major human causes of deforestation are agricultural expansions, infrastructural developments, timber extractions, oil and mining extractions.
Indirect causes of deforestation on country level are change in regional climatic conditions, population growth, national defensive conflicts, and weakness in government policies and weakness in local land tenure system and inadequate political actions on national level.
what is Deforestation?
Deforestation is the removing of trees permanently either to utilize land for other purposes or to utilize trees. Cutting a lot of trees without planning for sustainable growth of trees refers to deforestation.
Globally, shrinking of forests leads to changes in global climatic conditions, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity. On broader scale it is the disruption of ecosystem that indirectly affects life on earth.
What Are The Causes of Deforestation
Different types of agriculture activities are essentially important for the survival of human on earth. Mostly forests areas are substituted for the agriculture crops and plantation as forest’s lands can be easily converted into cultivation and livestock ranching. To overcome the food insecurities; production of milk, meat, wheat, maize, beans, palm oil, etc are in list of agriculture products that clears acres of forests at alarming rate.
Increase in population growth leads to development of houses and expansion of industries that have a direct effect on tropical forests as it needs more farmland, livestock farming, roads and infrastructure that will cause deforestation. In many countries shrinking of forests is also practicing for the constructions of large dams, roads, railways and sports grounds. Over-utilization of forests land into commercial land has harmful effects on environment (below).
The birth of civilization has intensified the use of wood as a primary source of living. Wood is used as a fuel resource for cooking and heating in rural residential areas all around the globe. People with substantial level of resources in rural communities have inadequate means to meet their needs, so they go for chopping the wood. In commercial, wood industries like furniture, matchsticks, paper needs a sufficient quantity of wood for production of the final goods. Only paper production needs 640 million trees per year while recycling of those papers could possibly save 27.5 million tons carbon dioxide contributed to global atmosphere. Logging is also one of the main causes of deforestation. Illegal logging is common practice in many countries that also affect livelihood of people depending on forests.
Mining is also an important factor behind deforestation. Digging for coal, petroleum or gold mines requires a large amount of forest land. These projects of mining are also followed by construction of roads, railways and power system that put extra pressure on ecosystem.
Every year earth loses a large portion of trees due to forests fires worldwide. This happens due to the extreme weather conditions. Such types of accidents caused by a man or nature consequently result a huge loss of trees, endangered animals forests plants and lives of valuable species. Some forests animals directly die in fires while most of them indirectly die with the passage of time due to insufficient of food and water. It is said that in earlier extensive wars wildfires were practicing during the attack on enemies to deprive them from benefits form forests and necessary resources. Such human insane mistakes were also a major cause of deforestation.
Effects of Deforestation
Extinction of Species
tropical forests are found on the high latitude areas where it became home for millions of diverse animals, birds and insects. Almost 80 % of the plant and animals live in tropical rain-forests. Most of the rare forests species are sensitive to climate conditions and forests provide them huge shelter. Chopping of trees turns thin the outer covering layer for sun rays during day time and colder during the night therefore; survival of vulnerable species becomes insecure. Eventually their lives begin at risk of extinction. Ecosystem of nature depends on one another; same is the case of species. Forest animals depends on another. Due to disturbance in habitat, the extinction of each individual rainforests animals has consequences on others. One can say that massive destruction of trees has great impact on extinction of forests animals and also extinction of plants. large scale cutting of trees disturb the forests ecosystem that leads to loss of biodiversity.
Emission of Greenhouse Gases
Approximately 12 % of the oxygen is produced by Amazon and other rain forests. Forests are the biggest source of oxygen, water and are considered as lungs of the earth. It absorbs carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen that contributes to reduce global warming. Temperature in rain forests remains very cool and pleasant for forests animals. Tree’s roots also work as a filter to purify land water and it makes our environment clean and green. Carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in environment due to anthropogenic activities lead to increase the earth temperature. Cutting of rainforests plants can create lack in air purifiers and deficit in absorption of harmful gases. These gases increase temperature in earth’s atmosphere that contributes towards climate change. Therefore emission of green house gases (GHG’s) is also a harmful effect of deforestation.
Tress in environment works like a natural barrier to slow down the speed of water as it runs off the land. Roots of the plants grip the soil and prevent it from washing away due to the speedy flow of any river water or flood water. Plants also provide rich nutrients to soil fertility. In the absence of trees topsoil become erode and become barren landscape. Soil erosion is one of the major effects of deforestation behind the unsustainable agriculture because most of the land in coastal regions becomes more vulnerable to flooding.
Climate change refers to rise in global temperature, rise in sea level, melting of glaciers, unpredictable and irregular patterns of rainfall. All these changes occur in environment is directly or indirectly associated with rise in earth temperature. As already discussed above that plants and trees have capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and balance the quality of natural air. Deforestation causes less absorption of carbon dioxide and these harmful gases stay in air and generate green house gases emission that lead to increase the earth temperature. Therefore deforestation has indirect effect on climate change.
Culture and Human Lives
Deforestation also has negative effects on native people. 250 million people around the world live in different tribes have no legal rights no land and government allow them to lives in forests. They protect forests from illegal timber mafias and also they generate profit from woods. Bonfires, hunting competitions remains their culture remains in woods. Large scale deforestation sometimes directly affects lifestyle and culture of such tribes. one can say that effects of deforestation are not bounded towards forest animals and species but it also have negative effects on people around forests.
Solutions of Deforestation
The Phenomena of climate change has been observed more than decades. Some countries on the poles of the globe are listed with greater risk at climate change vulnerability index and others are less but it has huge impact globally. Climate change can be tackled by following adaptation and mitigation strategies. There is a need of developing alternatives to deforestation. Some of the solutions for deforestation are discussed here.
- Forests can be restored through afforestation. Environmental protection organizations should start awareness campaign for plantation on barren lands, mountains and hilly areas.
- Strengthening the regional, national, and local policies regarding the environment and forests protection.
- Chopping of trees above the threshold level for basic needs. Trees and plants that are chopped below the threshold level cannot grow again. Therefore trees should be chopping in way that it can grow again with respect to time.
- Many people are unaware of this global issue. International organizations and government institute can aware general people through media and specially awareness drives in educational institute, schools, colleges and universities.
- We can save trees from deforestation by using alternatives source of fuel energy. In urban areas mostly people use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as a fuel but in rural areas one can easily produce bio-gas from waste and can use as fuel energy.
- Reduce in paper consumption can also reduce the chopping of forests. We can use soft copies of books, magazine and newspaper that can possibly reduce the use of paper and less deforestation.
Forests are the biggest source of clean and green environment. Natural resources on earth are depletable or non- depletable. Forests are also depletable resource and it can be protected for sustainable ecosystem and green environment. The practice of massive deforestation define the intervention of human in natural ecosystem without thinking about sustainable plans and necessary measurements that need to be followed. The aim of the article is to provide causes of deforestation and its harmful effects on species, human and ecosystem, also solutions for deforestation. This platform will provide all kind of basic information and also updates related t environment. We will utilize our resources to aware folk from the importance of environment and to meet the objectives of clean and green environment because we care about environment.