Deforestation simply means the decrease in the forest areas across the Earth that are cut down for other uses such as urbanization, agriculture croplands, or mining.
A report by the UN’s ‘Food and Agriculture Organization’ estimates that the annual rate of cutting trees in the entire world is around 1.3 million sq km per decade.
Human activities since the 1960s have put a burden on the environment and affect natural ecosystems, climate and biodiversity.
The Causes of Deforestation: Why It is Happening?
There are multiple factors that cause deforestation, either of natural origin (like parasite-caused diseases) or human-induced activity. However, human-induced activities are the major cause of global deforestation.
The same report by the FAO says human-caused nearly 80% of deforestation with the expansion of agriculture activities. Their construction of infrastructures such as dams, roads and colonies for a living has put pressure on Earth’s productivity.
Why is deforestation actually happening?
Agriculture is responsible for around 80% of deforestation. And how does agriculture cause so much removal of forests? The FAO says 33% of agriculture-caused deforestation is a consequence of sustenance agriculture for developing countries.
Commercial agriculture, field crops and livestock are also causing almost 40% of forest loss in order to find space to grow fibres, food or biofuel (palm oil, soybeans, rice, maize, cotton and sugarcane).
- Infrastructure Construction
The establishment of colonies and homes has been driving deforestation from the very beginning of humanity. 10% of forest cut down attributes to new infrastructures that serve modern human lifestyle in three ways: transformation, transportation and energy generation.
People, on one hand, have built rails, roads, ports or airports to transport goods from fruits to spices, minerals, cereals or fossil fuels directly to trade centres or transformation sites.
Other than these, humans take control of coal, natural gas, biomass for their own benefits and begin nurturing mammals to get meat, dairy at a larger scale.
As the population is growing, people who live in rural areas shift to urban areas, which also contributes to cutting down trees to give them a space to live. According to multiple studies, it is believed that almost 68% of the world’s population is to live in urban areas by 2050.
It will create challenges for nature to fulfil the demand of humans for food consumption, which will lead to even more deforestation.
Deforestation Effects: How Does Forest Removal Affect the Environment?
Deforestation has put many consequences and serious problems into the resilience of our Earth.
Let’s look at the major effects of deforestation so that we can understand why it is bad for our planet.
- Loss of Biodiversity
The most well-known consequence of deforestation is its threat to biodiversity. From mammals to birds, amphibians, insects or plants, the forest is the home of many rare and fragile species.
80% of the Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests.
By demolishing the forests, human activities are putting the entire ecosystem into instability by creating environmental imbalances and forcing biodiversity at threat. We are interdependent on each other, but we are making complexity for our own existence.
Trees provide shade and other functions for animals and birds. Because they cannot survive under the direct heat of sunlight.
- Making Human Life Tough
Healthy forests support the livelihoods of around 1.6 billion people in the entire globe, one billion of whom are the poorest ones. This simply means that they depend on forests for survival. They hunt and gather raw products to consume. However, in developing countries, the situation is completely different. They buy those lands for big business and disrupt local people’s livelihoods.
- Lead Us to Food Insecurities
Today, the world is using 52% of the land for food production and severely affecting the soil, resulting in a lack of healthy, nutritious soil.
- Soil Erosion
Cutting down the forests weakens and degrades the soil on a deeper level. Because of this, bad weather and extreme temperatures make the soil even more vulnerable. Trees cover the sun rays that directly fall on the soil and slow the dry out.
However, because of deforestation, the soil is becoming more fragile and leaving the area for landslides, floods and other disasters.
- Drastic Climate Change
The cutting of woodland also contributes to climate change. How? Trees absorb and store CO2 throughout their lives. They hold over 210 gigatons of carbon, and the destruction of these trees has two huge negative effects.
● Taking town trees means they will release CO2 back into the atmosphere.
● Few trees mean reducing the planet’s overall ability to store carbon.
Both contribute to the carbon footprint and climate change.
How We Can Stop Deforestation? Solutions Are Here!
According to OECD, the population of the Earth, by 2050, is expected to reach over 9 billion. The rate of consumption by people will increase and it would demand even more space than today for living. We will be forced to depend on artificial foods.
Under this broader perspective, how can we stop deforestation?
- We must consume less with more consciousness
- Stop using fossil fuels and palm oil
- Spread awareness to live a sustainable lifestyle
- We must not exploit natural resources
- We need to plant trees to restore our environment & ecosystem
- The leaders should make laws and policies that protect forest areas and wildlife
- The system should reform trade agreements, creating incentives for the use of sustainable forestry rules.
- Educate citizens and tourists about the need to protect nature and make ecotourism rules.
A Step for a Better Tomorrow: Mobius Foundation
The Mobius Foundation, a non-profit organization, founded by Mr. Pradip Burman to promote sustainability through his various initiatives to spread awareness among people why we need to save the environment. The initiatives elevate ecological conservation by Project Sanjeevani and population stabilization.