All About Deforestation

By: Mansi Arora


Image Credit: Flickr @ Peter Blanchard

What is deforestation? Well, deforestation refers to the removal of a wide area of trees. Deforestation occurs most commonly in countries that have a large number of trees, such as Brazil, Nigeria, and Indonesia. Brazil, in particular, has one of the highest rates of deforestation. As of today, more than 9,700 square kilometres of the Brazilian Rainforest have been cut down. However, this is only a small portion of the total amount of land that is cleared annually. According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, about 39,000 square kilometres of land is cleared annually. Deforestation is mostly done by farmers and/or large corporations who want to use the land and lumber, respectively. The farmers want to use the land so that they can farm more crops, whereas the corporations want to use the lumber to build homes, furniture, and paper. Thankfully, deforestation rates have declined by more than 50% in the last decade.


There are many different reasons as to why deforestation occurs. In some cases, migratory farmers want to use forest land to plant crops. This, of course, requires them to first remove the trees in the area. And so, that’s what they do. Once the soil in the area becomes too poor for the farmers to grow any more crops, they move to a new area to repeat the process. Another reason why deforestation occurs is the increased demand for new infrastructure in many countries. The new infrastructure means new construction projects, and construction projects require large quantities of wood, which in turn, require the felling of many trees.

Deforestation can have several negative effects on animals. Approximately 50,000 animals die from deforestation every year. This is because the animals that live in forests heavily rely on their trees to stay alive. The trees serve as homes as well as food sources. So, when the trees are cut down, these animals lose one of their key lifelines. This not only leads to the deaths of these animals but also makes the land inhabitable for future generations. If we continue at our current deforestation rate, about 10% of the world’s animal population will be wiped out by 2045. In addition to this, deforestation can also have a plethora of negative effects on humans. According to National Geographic, trees produce about 28% of the Earth’s oxygen. So, when we cut down trees, we’re actively reducing the quantity of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. This not only harms the ozone layer but can also make breathing more difficult for those with lung conditions. Furthermore, when a large number of trees is cut down, the overall level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, which can worsen the effects of climate change.

Climate change is a major threat to the entire human population. It has resulted in an increased number of floods, landslides, and wildfires. For example, there have been massive forest fires in Indonesia caused by deforestation, which has increased the heat levels in the area.

Deforestation poses a massive threat to all life on earth. Thus, we must work to combat it. Deforestation should be limited so that it is only permitted for essential purposes. Furthermore, severe penalties and fines should be imposed on those who commit illegal deforestation. We should also be working to combat this issue by recycling products, planting trees whenever possible, and going paperless. If each and everyone one of us can play our role in reducing deforestation, we will be able to save our planet.

Questions:


1. Why is deforestation so hard to stop?

Deforestation is very difficult to stop due to the fact that forests are typically in remote and unmonitored areas. This makes it very difficult for authorities to track those who committed deforestation.


2. Which type of farming causes more amounts of deforestation?

There are many different types of farming that occur all around the world, but the two that cause the most amount of deforestation are subsistence farming and commercial farming. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% deforestation and commercial farming is responsible for 32% of the farming.


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