What is a deforestation? -Deforestation is the change of land cover with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 10%. - The removal of a forest stand where the land is put to a non-forest use.
CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION : - Forests are being cut down for many various reasons but the biggest driver of deforestation is URBANIZATION. - Further on order to gain access to these forests, the construction of roads are undertaken where a large number of trees are chopped to create roads. - Overpopulation also directly affects forest covers where the expansion of cities means more land is needed to establish housing and settlements. Therefore, forest land is reclaimed.
- Next factor is AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES - Migratory farmers clear a forest area and use it until the soil becomes too degraded for crops. Then they move on and clear a new patch of forest. The abandoned land, if left untouched, will eventually reforest, but it will take many, many years to return to its original state. - Due to overgrowing demand for foos products, huge amount of trees are fell down to grow crops and for cattle grazing
- Other factor is because of LOGGING. - Apart from this, wood based industries like paper, match-sticks, and furniture also need a substantial amount of wood supply. Wood is used as fuel both directly and indirectly, therefore trees are chopped for supplies. Firewood and charcoal are examples of wood being used as fuel. Some of these industries thrive on illegal wood cutting and felling of trees.
Next is CONVERSION FOR PALM OIL PLANTATIONS - Forest conversion is a dramatic process where natural forest landscapes are replaced by other land uses, affecting their habitat and biodiversity. - Covering a total land area of 4.08 million hectares, the single largest agricultural crop in Malaysia is oil palm. - Worldwide demand for palm oil is expected to double again by 2050 to 240 million tonnes.
New plantations are being developed and existing ones are being expanded in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries, as well as in Africa and Latin America. - But this expansion comes at the expense of tropical forest – which forms critical habitat for a large number of endangered species. - Palm oil companies prefer to clear primary forests, rather than degraded areas or grasslands, for economic reasons. This causes many trees were chopped in order to plant the palm oil trees
Next is AGRICULTURAL FIRES. - Burning the forest had a dramatic impact, but it was once a common way to clear the land for crops and livestock. - This is known as the ‘slash and burn’ techniques. - Farmers clear the land for crops or for cattle and often will clear acres of land using slash and burn techniques -- cutting down trees and then burning them.
Short term effects
1. Erosion of Soil: When forest areas are cleared, it results in exposing the soil to the sun, making it very dry and eventually, infertile, due to volatile nutrients such as nitrogen being lost. In addition, when there is rainfall, it washes away the rest of the nutrients, which flow with the rainwater into waterways. Because of this, merely replanting trees may not help in solving the problems caused by deforestation, for by the time the trees mature, the soil will be totally devoid of essential nutrients. Ultimately, cultivation in this land will also become impossible, resulting in the land becoming useless. Large tracts of land will be rendered permanently impoverished due to soil erosion.
2. Disruption of the Water Cycle: Trees contribute in a large way in maintaining the water cycle. They draw up water via their roots, which is then released into the atmosphere. A large part of the water that circulates in the ecosystem of rainforests, for instance, remains inside the plants. When these trees are cut down it results in the climate getting drier in that area.
3. Flooding and Drought: One of the vital functions of forests is to absorb and store great amounts of water quickly when there are heavy rains. When forests are cut down, this regulation of the flow of water is disrupted, which leads to alternating periods of flood and then drought in the affected area.
1. Loss of Biodiversity: The unique biodiversity of various geographical areas is being lost on a scale that is quite unprecedented. Even though tropical rainforests make up just 6 percent of the surface area of the Earth, about 80-90 percent of the entire species of the world exist here. Due to massive deforestation, about 50 to 100 species of animals are being lost each day. The outcome of which is the extinction of animals and plants on a massive scale.
2. Climate Change: It is well known that global warming is being caused largely due to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, what is not known quite as well is that deforestation has a direction association with carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Trees act as a major storage depot for carbon, since they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is then used to produce carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that make up trees. When deforestation occurs, many of the trees are burnt or they are allowed to rot, which results in releasing the carbon that is stored in them as carbon dioxide. This, in turn, leads to greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
3. Wildlife Extinction: Due to massive felling down of trees, various species of animals are lost. They lose their habitat and forced to move to new location. Some of them are even pushed to extinction. Our world has lost so many species of plants and animals in last couple of decades
Solutions: Corporations : 1. Minimize paper wastage and encourage recycling: Corporation are huge consumers of paper. Management can work towards a paper-free office by shifting towards email and soft copies and also encourage their employees to recycle.
Governments : 1. Reforestation: The cutting down of trees must be encountered by replacing old ones that were cut with young ones. Trees are being planted every year, but they still don’t match the number of trees that lost.
2. Support organisation that push for anti-deforestation : Have the resources to allow anti-deforestation organization to get their message across and their sphere of influence. That is a good way to indirectly solve deforestation.
Individuals: 1. Use recycled products: By purchasing recycled product, we are encouraging more and more companies to produces recycled product, which deal a less damage to our forest, create less waste and decrease the need for new materials
2. Go paperless: For ecological deforestation to end, paper consumption must be drastically reduced. Opting for paperless bills, checks and payments significantly contributes towards mending the harmful effects of deforestation. 3. Use renewable energy: In some places, especially developing countries, wood is still used as fuel. Purchase renewable energy such as solar, geothermal and wind energy to help stop deforestation. 4. Educate others of need to fight deforestation. 5. Spread your knowledge and urge the others to follow in your footsteps and fight deforestation.
Other Solutions: 1. The best solution to deforestation is to curb the felling of trees, by employing a series of rules and laws to govern it. Deforestation in the current scenario may have reduced however it would be too early to assume. The money-churner that forest resources can be, is tempting enough for deforestation to continue.
2. Clear cutting of forests must be banned. This will curb total depletion of the forest cover. It is a practical solution and is very feasible. 3. Land skinned of its tree cover for urban settlements should be urged to plant trees in the vicinity and replace the cut trees. Also the cutting must be replaced by planting young trees to replace the older ones that were cut.
Last but not least, lets us understand this quotes : " I USED TO WORRY THAT ALL THE TREES IN THE JUNGLE WOULD BE CUT DOWN TO MAKE PAPER FOR THEIR REPORTS ON HOW TO SAVE THE RAINFOREST "