In 1990, the total size of forest cover in the world amounted to 4168 million hectares. In the year 2000, it was down to 4085 million hectares. By the year 2010, it had fallen to 4033 million hectares. Statistics tell us that currently, an average of 18 million acres( about 7.3 million hectares) of forest cover are lost every single year. According to the same statistics, about half of the earth’s forests have been cleared. The amount of forest remaining covers only about 30% of land mass. With 18.7 million acres of forest being lost, the equivalent of 27 football fields being lost every minute, 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions has been attributed to deforestation.
It is clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that deforestation is a problem that plagues this earth, and we are dependent on a vast ecosystem of species interacting closely with one another. Hence we are affected indirectly, sometimes more than we realize, by the loss of trees in our environment.
Deforestation, for the purpose of this essay, is the intentional and permanent destruction of forest trees to free up space and for other activities. We as humans in our bid to broaden the urbanization trend have trampled on the natural forest that sustains countless species. Something needs to be done to stop deforestation, but before that, we need to learn more about the issue of deforestation.
What are the usual reasons behind deforestation?
There are many reasons behind the large scale of deforestation. The major reason for deforestation, the one behind half of all trees lost by deforestation, is the need for fuel, wood and some of its derivatives serve as efficient sources of energy as fuel for combustion. And most of the wood for this purpose comes from the feeling of large areas of the forest. Another reason that accounts for deforestation is the need for space for urbanization and housing. As the population of humans increase, the amount of space needed to accommodate this growing number increases as well. Deforestation frees up space for this purpose. Timber from forest trees also serves as raw materials in the manufacturing of paper, and the design and construction of furniture and even houses. There are also certain valuable resources; certain oils for example, that are obtained from forest trees and can only be commercialized when large amounts of trees are felled.
What are the disadvantages of deforestation?
The biggest effect of deforestation is none other than climate change. Deforestation is directly linked to global warming. Greenhouse gasses are gas molecules that absorb thermal infrared radiation. In large enough quantities, greenhouse gases can directly cause global warming. One of these greenhouse gases; Carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees. Cutting down millions of acres of forest allows Carbon dioxide to collect in our atmosphere resulting in a worldwide rise of temperature; Global warming.
What can be done to curb deforestation?
It is a widely held belief that to counteract deforestation, we simply need to plant more trees. Reforestation is a very important step to take to offset the effects of deforestation. Reforestation can help to repair the ecosystem by restoring the activities that are carried out by the forest which include carbon storage, water cycling and providing habitat for wildlife. It also helps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, directly cutting down on global warming. It also helps to restore the habitat of certain species that either lives in the trees or around them. Apart from reforestation as a measure, deforestation has to be discouraged. One way this has been done is by enlightening the public about the negative effects of deforestation. Plant-based diets are also being encouraged to deter people from clearing large areas of forest to rear livestock.
It takes very little effort to notice, identify and point out the causes and effects of deforestation. It is an entirely different matter to take bold action to curb it and slow its unsustainable rate. However, we must make changes, no matter how difficult as our survival as a species depends on it.