Deforestation is the uncontrolled cut down of trees. In other words, deforestation is the permanent cut down of trees to create room for other activities such as farming, settlement, and construction among others. Although there are various reasons for deforestation, human activities are the primary causes. However, there are instances where mature trees are cut for replacement with new trees, and these are minimal cases which are among the ways to conserve the environment. Thus, with deforestation, there is no replacement for the cut-down trees thus leaving the land exposed to soil erosion which is a contributing factor to environmental degradation. Although there is increased deforestation all over the world, rainforest regions are highly targeted due to the availability of hardwood species which seem to be thriving better in the market. Therefore, though there has been increased deforestation globally, there is a need to enhance controlled and prevented encroachment of forests to facilitate environmental preservation.
Deforestation is a severe global issue that has had severe consequences for the environment and climate at large (Malhi et al. 171). Throughout the years, climatic changes have been highly contributed by the increased deforestation all over the world. Targeting of the hardwoods has left the remaining forests without the indigenous species which is a threat to the future generations. Logging for the indigenous species like mahogany, rosewood, and teak for charcoal, building materials, furniture among other uses of woods is a commercial business but a threat to the environment. With the emergence of open lands, there is uncontrolled soil erosion which causes environmental degradation. Soil erosion leads to loosening of the topsoil which may result in massive landslides thus a risk to humans. Therefore, deforestation has an overall negative impact ranging from the environment, climate and human lifestyles among others.
Causes of deforestation
Firstly, deforestation is stimulated by increased human activities. Increased population in different regions all over the world has facilitated the logging to create land for human settlement. Though understandable to some extent, people should not be allowed to clear forests for settlements, and rather, they should be encouraged to settle in other areas such as the dry areas and rehabilitate them by planting trees (Boahene 252). Expanding industrial sector has also contributed to increased deforestation as they create room for expansion, research for raw materials for their productions as well as create room for industrial innovations. Ranching farms, they have also contributed to deforestation as they clear forests to rear their livestock which requires large fields for effective rearing.
Illegal logging of trees for firewood is also a problem that has been leading to logging all over the world. Increased demand for firewood has left many illegally brought to the ashes. Lots of companies have been using firewood as a source of their power to facilitate their manufacturing and production activities. Forest fires have been rampant over the years which has been a problem facing many countries (Reddy et al. 112). As forests get encroached with fire, there is much land left bare and exposed to different risks such as soil erosion. Lastly, there have been cases of deforestation due to mining activities where trees are cleared to pave the way for mining fields. Therefore, despite there being natural calamities such as lightning, volcanic activities, and landslides, human activities have been the leading contributors to deforestation.
Effects of deforestation.
Forests as vegetation cover are important in conserving the environment. Thus, with the increased rate of deforestation, the land cover is removed thus leaving the soil bare and exposed. To begin with, deforestation is a leading factor in soil erosion. Soil erosion and flooding are prevented by the vegetation cover holding the soil particles together. Therefore, whenever trees are cleared, the environment is exposed to both floods and soil erosion. Through deforestation, there is a loss of habitat for both plants and animals. According to Zarin et al. (1344), forest cover through canopies regulated the temperatures which are conducive for different animals and plants. Consequently, when cleared, there is massive loss of lives. Similarly, trees control the water in the air; therefore, whenever trees are removed, there is unregulated humidity. Henceforth, this interferes with the water cycle which is a primary cause for rainfall. With less or water into the soil, the soil is unable to grow anything thus leading for droughts and famine.
Deforestation primarily causes climatic changes. Vegetation cover helps in the absorption of carbon dioxide which would instead react with other gases to form inert gases (Malhi et al. 172). Simultaneously, as trees absorb the gas, they release oxygen which is essential for animals and human beings. Therefore, deforestation leads to an irregular balance of the gases in the atmosphere. Thus, this results in increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contributing to greenhouse effects. Greenhouse effects result in global warming which is a worldwide issue.
Subsequent the increased environmental issues, there is a need to regulate and stop deforestation. Although there have rules and regulations in each country to control the illegal logging, their impacts have not yet been felt as they are not implemented into operation. International organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) have been in the forefront campaigning to the citizens in different countries of the importance of forest sand planting more trees. Their efforts have been effective in some regions where reforestation has commenced and ongoing. Therefore, through public awareness and education to plant more trees, there can be a successful reforestation program worldwide.
Although costly, the governments should introduce measures to encourage a paperless economy (Boahene 254). This would be a way to reduce deforestation as companies do it to manufacture papers. Thus, whether at home or work, people should be discouraged from using papers while designing operational rules and regulations for paper manufacturers to establish the new recyclable way to manufacture the papers. This would also encourage recycling which would help conserve the forests. According to Brandt, Christoph, and Arun (17), during construction, people should see better replacements for woods to reduce logging. Therefore, using different woods alternatives in various activities, there would be useful in reclaiming forests through afforestation programs as well as protecting the remaining ones.
Reducing meat consumption is a way to reduce meat demands thus declining animal farming. Globally, the demand for meat has always been rising with a constant space for livestock keeping which leads to deforestation to create more space. Though animal rearing can be in different forms such as poultry and ranches, reduced demand for meat would lead to reduced deforestation in research for expansion of the farms (Gaveau et al. 21). Thus, as land for rearing livestock reduces, there would be more land for reforestation. On the hand, people should be encouraged to be vegetarians to promote farming. Through increased demand for vegetables, more crops would be planted which goes hand in hand with reforestation.
Respecting the indigenous communities residing in the forest regions would be a way to regulate the increased deforestation all over the world. Although known to less individual in society, there are millions of populations residing in forests and depend on forests for their livelihood and habitat (Zarin et al. 1337). An example of this is in the Amazon where millions of residents stay under the canopies of the rainforests. Their livelihood depends on the forests, and with deforestation, their homesteads are destroyed which affects their lifestyle. Thus, public awareness of the existing indigenous communities in the forests would help regulate and stop deforestation to conserve their existence.
Fighting governmental corruption is also a way to prevent and stop illegal logging. Through corrupt government officials, illegal logging has been happening on their watch as they have materialistic gains and personal interests with the logging. Therefore, fighting corruption in the government would enhance regulated logging thus conserving the forests. Additionally, supporting programs and institutions campaigning against illegal logging would be a way to stop deforestation (Reddy et al. 99). Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) fighting deforestation should be supported to end cases of deforestation. Lastly, joining hands with community forestry projects would help in planting more trees which would help recover encroached forests.
Concisely, deforestation has been a global issue over the years with different negative impacts on the environment, human beings as well as animals and plants. Consequently, there have been climatic changes which have worsened the situation thus bringing more suffering globally. Therefore, there is a need to regulate and finally end deforestation cases through different mechanisms such as public awareness and education, opting for the paperless economy and increased use for renewable resources among others. Therefore, deforestation is a phenomenon that has been spread worldwide and needs better ways to bring it an end.
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Malhi, Yadvinder, et al. “Climate change, deforestation, and the fate of the Amazon.” science 319.5860 (2008): 169-172.
Reddy, C. Sudhakar, et al. “Quantification and monitoring of deforestation in India over eight decades (1930–2013).” Biodiversity and Conservation 25.1 (2016): 93-116.
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