Report on Deforestation Deforestation is defined as thecutting down of trees in a large area, or the destruction of forests by people.According to the World Resources Institute, more than 80 percent of the Earth’snatural forests already have been destroyed (National Geographic). This isobserved in Brazil and Indonesia, where the world’s two biggest regions of rainforests in these regions are being cut down at an alarming rate due toactivities such as logging and land clearing for agriculture.
Deforestation isa global problem to us and to the world. If this carries on, it will becatastrophic. The purpose of this report is to explain the seriousness ofdeforestation to the world and control measures.
In particular, this reportwill be zooming in on: the reasons for deforestation, environmental andecological impact of deforestation, impacts on climate change, solutions. Causes of DeforestationDeforestation happens almost allaround the world, but why is it happening? Firstly, it is to make more landavailable for housing and agriculture. Due to the rapid growth in worldpopulation, countries are finding it tough to find space to house theircitizens.
There go the forests when governments permit the cutting of foreststo make way for houses and amenities. Slowly, rural areas in countries becomeurban areas due to globalization and urbanization across many countries. In agrowing population, demand for food increases. In turn, food exports andimports have skyrocketed over the years. Countries like Vietnam for exampledepend on agriculture for food and income from food exports to other countries.This led to an increasing demand for agricultural land. In areas like Ladang inIndonesia and Mexico, slash and burn deforestation is common. This is a methodcommonly used because it clears land quickly, so that agricultural land can beprepared for the new wave of growing crops.
Another reason for Slash and burndeforestation is because the ashes are potential fertilizers for new crops.Secondly, it is because of logging.Trees are cut down because timber from logs can be made into materials such aspaper, wood, construction materials and furniture. These materials are usefulin building skyscrapers, cars and fighter planes. They are essential for buildinginfrastructure and this has driven a high demand to make logging a necessity tothis day.
Many also often take advantage of illegal logging especially when governmentsfail to enforce strict regulations on such acts. This has eventually led to arise in logging cases. For example, “Illegal logging contributes a large amountto the overall deforestation of the Amazon with an average of 60-80% of alllogging activities in the forest considered to be illegal.” (Lefevre,2014). Asa result, the rise of logging has directly caused deforestation.
Effects of DeforestationFirst of all, deforestation destroysthe habitats of many animal species. Animals native to that particular habitatwill lose their place of shelter and their source of food. The food chain in theecosystem will become imbalanced, thus affecting the consumers. Once, theproducer population decreases, other consumers at higher trophic levels will beindirectly affected, and may eventually die due to lack of food source. Thedestruction of animal habitats prompts them to seek shelter elsewhere bymigrating. Often, this puts its life in danger to predators or poaching. Analien habitat would also put a threat to its life when its adaptation to a newenvironment fails.
For example, animal species such as the Northern Spotted Owlin Western United States cannot survive in a secondary forest habitat but onlyin their original habitat (Greentumble, 2015). Though humans are not at thelosing end by cutting down forests, animals are clearly adversely affected.Additionally, deforestation causessoil erosion.
When plants are removed from land, there are no roots to hold thesoil together. This loose top layer soil becomes susceptible to erosion duringheavy rain when this top soil containing nutrients are washed downslope. Theseessential nutrients for growing vegetation is washed away, leaving a dry andnutrient-deficient soil that is unsuitable for healthy plant growth. Lose soilalso cannot retain water well, this would also lead to flooding and the washingof nutrients into water bodies that may give rise to water pollution. The richnutrients in water bodies fuel the growth of an algae bloom that reduces oxygenconcentration in ponds and limit sunlight penetration to aquatic plants. Impacts on climatechangeTropical rainforests are the lungsof the Earth.
It plays an important role in the carbon cycle by removing carbondioxide in the atmosphere and release oxygen necessary for all life on Earth. Whenforests are cut down and burnt, carbon is released back into the atmosphere inthe form of carbon dioxide. This contributes to an increase in greenhouse gasesthat leads to enhanced global warming. According to Greenpeace, “Deforestationhas such a massive effect on climate change that Indonesia and Brazil are now the thirdand fourth largest emitters of carbon dioxide on the planet”. Furthermore,”up to 75 per cent of Brazil’s emissions come solely from deforestation – withthe majority coming from clearing and burning areas of the Amazon rainforest.
” Solutions and measuresOne solution is reforestation, in whichtrees are replanted in a specific area.. More trees would mean more carbon storagesto trap carbon-related compounds in the soil and the tree itself. This processof reforestation is therefore a restorative measure of deforestation. Next would be to enforce stricterlaw and regulations. There are still people turning to illegal logging and thisis because of the lack of government enforcement and intervention.
There is aneed for them to step up to authority to stop such human activities to reducethe impact of deforestation on the environment. Negotiation and cooperation isrequired to meet consensus between external companies and the governmentbecause often both sides have different mindsets regarding the issue of deforestation.For example, the company would see it as a way of profit but the government maysee it as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
One example of regulation put intoeffect is the European Union Timber Regulation which came into force on 3 March2013. It prohibits operators in Europe from placing illegal harvested timber andproducts derived from illegal timber on the European Union market.Lastly would be collaboration withjoint organizations. These include collaboration with conservation, wildlife,rainforest and nature protection agencies. No man is an island.
Similarly, thegovernment itself cannot work alone to combat deforestation. Everyone needs towork together with the same goal of preserving, protecting and restoringforests for the better of our Earth. When more organizations work together, formulatingconservation and protection measures become easier. Little would we realize,but a combined effort can bring a greater impact than one who works alone. ConclusionIn conclusion, deforestation is aserious problem not to be taken lightly. Appropriate measures are necessary tocombat this problem, but first everyone need to come to consensus to save ourearth.
A common goal would mean something everyone can work towards to. Thefate of the world lies in our hands and it all starts now.