Forests cover slightly under a third of the land area on our planet, produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people as well as wildlife. With the world developing rapidly, the rising need for space is turning out to be a concern. Regrettably, “Deforestation” in simplest terms means the felling and clearing of forest cover or tree plantations, arises because of a desperate need for fields for agricultural, industrial and urban use.
The immediate and long-term effect of deforestation is alarming; hence, it is necessary to perceive the primary causes of deforestation such as logging, agricultural and debt relief. Climate change, soil erosion, and species extinction are the chief effects of this activity. There are principal causes behind this detrimental activity for instance logging, agricultural and debt relief.
Logging is the process of cutting and processing trees to produce timber and pulp to supply the world’s markets for furniture, construction, paper and other products plus human action in clearing forests for fuel since wood is used as fuel both directly and indirectly besides the sole source of fuel available for most of the world’s poor. 80 percent of all wood used globally is for fuelwood. The countryside poor is those who use fuelwood as a source of energy the most. The forest borders were cleared by cutting and burning that demolish between 6 and 14 million hectares of tropical forest every year (McLeish, 2007). In order to make the products cheaper, deforestation is allowed without recognizing the fact that it would damage ecological balance. Further, agricultural activities are one of the major causes involving deforestation.
Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Around the world, forests are giving way to plantations for oil palm, rubber and tea that took approximately 5000 square kilometers (Golden and Miller, 1994.).Frequently, modest farmers will clear a few acres by chopping down the trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burn process.
Most critically, they normally use ancient cultivation techniques that exhaust the rainforests’ natural resources. A study by Malcolm Gills (as cited in Golden and Miller, 1994) stated that “forest clearing for cattle ranching, mostly in Brazil and Central America, took another 15,000 square kilometers per year.”Due to overgrowing demand for food products, agriculture has been a considerable driver of this catastrophe.Clearing up the forest to pay back the foreign debt of that particular nation is one of the most typical causes of deforestation (Culas, 2006). Some countries have owed a large sum of foreign debt to banks and richer countries, however, are incapable to pay the debt.Thus, they felled up the forests for crop yield, and they could acquire more money together with settle up the debt by planting crops that could be traded internationally. Brazil is one of the countries that undergoing an export boom, yet three-quarters of its foreign earnings go into servicing US$250 billion of debt. Consequently, the country has to increase worldwide exports of timber, beef, and soya (McLeish, 2007).
This is why most of the country decide on clear the forest and do agronomically as they not only can repay the debt but also earn a considerable sum of money out of it. All these causes that have been mentioned in the previous paragraphs come along with disastrous effects including climate change, soil erosion, and species extinction. These consequences not only affect the humankind and wildlife but also may be devastating to the whole planet. Deforestation drives to climate change that considers the primary impact on the global carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide or CO2 is the dominant contributor to the greenhouse effect and to global climate change.
The glucose and sugars that contain in the tree have been made by the obtained carbon from the atmosphere. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning the water vapor to the atmosphere. On the other hand, this carbon is released back into the atmosphere together with lessens the amount of carbon stored as the forests are cleared and the trees either burned or left to decay. It is estimated that deforestation is responsible for one-fifth of the global total of carbon emissions every year including releases billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air (Strenstrup, 2009).
Without trees to occupy these roles, many former lands can immediately become barren deserts and this disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to flora and fauna. According to Lindsey, 2007, soil erosion is undeniably another significant effect of deforestation. Tropical soils are actually very thin and infertile in nutrients within all the luxuriance and productivity that exist in tropical forests. Over time, most of the minerals have washed away from the soil due to the underlying parent rock weathers rapidly in the tropics’ elevated temperatures and heavy rain. Practically all the nutrient content of a tropical forest is in the living plants and the decomposing litter on the forest floor. The farmer typically burns the trees and vegetation to invest a fertilizing layer of ash when an area is completely deforested for farming. After this slash-and-burn deforestation, the nutrient repository is lost, flooding and erosion rates are rising and soils often become unable to support crops in just a few years.
The ground may become condensed as well, slowing down or averting forest recovery if the area is then turned into cattle pasture. The most dramatic effect is a loss of the habitats for millions of species. In the last couple of decades, our world has lost so many species of plants and animals due to massive felling down of trees.
We are losing an average of 137 plants, insects and animals species every day. They lose their habitat and forced to move to new location. Some of them are even pushed to extinction. It is estimated almost 90 percent of predicted extinctions will take place within next four decades.
Over three-quarters of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and may not survive the deforestation that destroys their homes (Read and Digest, 2018). Deforestation will soon cause the future generations to lost touch with the animals that exist now. In conclusion, human activities for instance logging, cattle ranching, and the desperation to pay the debt are catastrophic for the rainforests. The effects have resulted in climate change, wearing away the soil and losing the endangered species.
Nevertheless, there is yet some hope to confront this critical issue and help to curb deforestation including saving the trees from being cut. Therefore, everybody especially the authorities should play their role in preserving and protecting the forests so that there is a better future for our next generations.