Deforestation is one of the greatest threats our environment faces today. We have already witnessed many deforestation effects and forest clearing leaving us with only a small amount of remaining forested areas globally. Deforestation occurs as a result of many issues including climate change and global warming as well as man’s activities such as urbanization, population growth, and many many others. The effects of deforestation are ones that are extremely devastating both to man, animals, and nature as these large biomes make up most of the resources we tend to use in our everyday lives. With deforestation increasing at a rapid speed we now need to find and focus on solutions for protecting and conserving what still remains of the forests within our world.
So what is deforestation? The deforestation definition refers to the loss of forested areas around the world by being replaced for other uses that may seem more beneficial for increasing man-made activities. This change and decrease in forest areas mean that the many ecosystems and range of biodiversity found within these forests are altered and negatively affected as a consequence of loss of habitats and resources. The meaning of deforestation also refers to the human use of forested land by engaging in forest clearing activities such as cutting down vast amounts of trees either for building or industrial use. The increase in globalization and urbanization has only meant that these activities have increased and thus many vital and important forest areas have now been permanently destroyed.
WHY IS DEFORESTATION A PROBLEM?
So why is deforestation bad? Deforestation causes some severe damage to the environment and has many negative effects and consequences on earth including
Loss of habitat
By far one of the sad and harsh effects of deforestation is the habitat loss experienced by animals and plant species. The parts of the forests that have been cleared for other uses were one’s homes for animals and plants which makes up for a very important part of both their individual ecosystems and the life of the earth. This leaves these animals and plant species under great threat and increases their chance of extinction by extremely large amounts. The specific trees that are being cut down once provide homes and shelters for animals which in a blink of an eye disappear leaving them with no shelter or protection from the heat of the sun and larger species than themselves.
Destruction of indigenous peoples homes
There are many indigenous communities that have made sustainable homes and living environments within the forests. These forests are their homes to which they depend on shelter and the vast variety of resources to keep alive. The increased loss of forests has been extremely threatening towards these specific communities who without choice got vast sections of the land they were living in taken away. This also means that they have to make large adaptations towards the lifestyle they have known their whole lives which have often meant forcing them out of their homes.
Flooding and soil erosion
The clearing rainforest has also had some remarkable effects on what happens below the surface. Soil erosion is one of the biggest experiences as without the protection of the trees that once stood the land is unable to retain water which is what usually contains all the nutrients they need to be able to sustain a multitude of plant life. Without forests the soil will erode and wash away with any amounts of water which leave land dry and unable to produce vegetation and agriculture as well as having an increased chance of flooding, leaving many farmers unable to produce agricultural and grow crops.
DEFORESTATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
So what is the link between deforestation on climate change? Well in fact deforestation and climate change go hand in hand. This is because forests store extremely large amounts of carbon which is then absorbed by the trees and plants, preventing it from entering our atmosphere, however, when leaves trees and plants no longer exist, or their amounts decreased, more carbon dioxide is then released into our atmosphere. This build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to an increased risk of global warming. Forets act as temperature regulators and without them we will and have already seen a drastic rise in temperature throughout the globe.
Here are some interesting facts about deforestation that may help you get a clearer idea of what deforestation actually means
- Forests cover around thirty percent of the world’s entire land.
- If we continue to act in the way we do it is estimated that forests especially rainforests will no longer exist in one hundred years.
- The main cause of deforestation is the agricultural market.
- The loss of forests contributes to the overall greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent.
- Rainforests provide many of the medicinal sources we use today.
- Many of our resources including food and materials come from forests.
- Over half of the world, tropical forests have already been cleared as a result of deforestation.
- Millions of people rely on forests for jobs and the ability to support themselves and their possible families.
- How many trees get cut down each year? About 3.5 – 7 billion trees are cut down each year!
THE AMAZON FOREST
The amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world, possibly the most important and the most affected by deforestation. Over 17 percent of the entire amazon has already been lost in the past fifty years with a large part solely due to cattle ranching it is seen that thousands of plant and animal species have been lost too. The amazon is experiencing large amounts of threats towards people who live in the forest and nearby the forest, impacts of importing and exporting goods, the economy, and the trade sector, not to mention the effects on the huge biodiversity of plant and animal life that can be found within the forest.
Some interesting rainforests deforestation facts include
- Tropical forests are more likely to experience deforestation and its effects.
- Almost eight percent of the world’s terrestrial species live in the forests.
- Rainforest s cover around six percent of the earth’s surface
- The amazon rainforest is as big if not bigger than the ninth largest country in the world.
- Almost a quarter of the ingredients found in modern medicine come from amazon.
- Rainforests are imperative to maintaining the amount of freshwater needed on earth.
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