Imagine Africa being a large dessert with no wildlife and vegetation. It may sound impossible, but it will certainly happen if the current pace of deforestation is not stopped. The African life depends on sustainability of forests which are essential for shelter and economy. In addition, deforestation has a tremendous effect on animal habitat, weather patterns and climate. Without increased awareness and immediate action, it will be soon too late to reverse the damage and Africa will become uninhabitable. We can also help this cause by organizing fundraisers, increase awareness through out your community by discussions and presentations, and considering volunteering your time to help organizations who are trying to protect the African forests.
Deforestation is a problem in the whole world, but in Africa the rate of tree cutting is higher the global annual average of 0.8% of existing forests. Comparing to other continents where deforestation is mainly caused by logging and farming, in Africa wood is used for energy and accounts for half of all energy used. Increased demand for timber around the world, especially in China, will accelerate legal and illegal logging in Africa. The Congo Basin that contains 20 percent of the world's rain forests is being harvested at very high rates and leads to transformation of forests into savanna grasslands. Using alternative energy and more efficient wood burning methods may help decrease the rate wood being used to make energy. We could fund-raise and donate stoves that can reach 88% wood burning stoves.
Similar to other parts of the world Africans use wood for construction, furniture, and energy. Unfortunately, most of the wood is used for burning and if an alternative source of energy is found, Africa could gain more money from selling timber and preserve the forests. We can volunteer for an organization that installs solar panels as an alternative source of energy instead of wood.
Forests in Africa are home to many unique plants and species of animals such as the gorillas, elephants, okapi, and monkeys. Many of these animals habitats are being destroyed by deforestation and forest fragmentation from roadside farming and logging. Computer simulations showed that most forests in Africa will be significantly disturbed in the next 5 decades and up to a third of the trees will be lost by 2030. We can donate money to organizations that fight deforestation and protect wild life in Africa.
70% of Africa's species live in Forests.
Deforestation is one of the large factors in global climate change because of the resulting increase in the carbon dioxide levels and subsequent greenhouse effect. Trees can store 40 times the amount of annual greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. A tree that is cut not only will stop removing carbon dioxide, but will also release a large amount of carbon dioxide as it dies. Deforestation not only affects the global climate but also the local weather patterns. A study showed that transforming forests into farmland reduces rainfall over the nearby trees by 50% due to changes in the surface temperature which affects the formation of rain clouds. The African rain forest, which already has the lowest rainfall of any rain forest in the world, are vulnerable to any more weather changes. By educating farmers in Africa how to increase crop yield by using fertilizers and pest resistant plants, we can prevent further deforestation by using current farmlands more efficiently.
Deforestation in Africa is a problem that not only affects people in Africa, but people all over the world, including us. As forests get destroyed there is increased pressure on the remaining forests from logging and weather changes and this will lead to an unstoppable cycle. Using alternative energy and more efficient wood burning methods will certainly help the cause. Educating people who live in the affected areas will help the locals take matters in their own hands and get more involved in protecting their resources. Finally, African countries need strong, fair governments to enforce the law and protect the forests from illegal logging. Although this happens thousands of miles away, it affects all of us and we need to contribute in any way to this cause.
BBC News. 26 May 2009, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8066871.stm. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
LiveScience. 4 Mar. 2015, www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
WWF Global. www.fao.org/docrep/ARTICLE/WFC/XII/0542-B1.HTM. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.
WWF Global. wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/deforestation/deforestation_fronts/deforestation_in_the_congo_basin/. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.