Deforestation is the clearing or destruction of forests on land that has been reserved for human use, typically by cutting down trees or burning them, with the intent of converting the cleared land into agricultural fields, pastures, or other developed lands.
Research shows that deforestation contributes to climate change in many ways. Deforestation can cause species extinction because it removes critical habitat for animals and plants that are not found anywhere else on Earth. The loss of forest cover also threatens biodiversity because some species can only survive in certain types of forests. Let’s further see how deforestation can affect our lives and what we can do to fight it.
It’s a Threat To Biodiversity
Deforestation significantly impacts the environment, including our climate, and causes a severe loss in biodiversity. If an animal can’t find a similar habitat in nature, it will not survive because it’s its only way of survival.
The enormous destruction of natural habitats is threatening many species with extinction. In fact, according to scientists, there are around 709 endangered animals and plant species. Some of them can only be found in specific habitats such as forests, deserts, and wetlands. The destruction of the forests by human activities is putting the ecosystems in danger, allowing natural imbalances, and putting life at threat.
May Lead to Food Insecurity in the Future
Food insecurity may likely occur if deforestation continues. The world population is growing and will probably reach 9 billion people by 2050! You can read up more facts on https://www.trvst.world/environment/deforestation-facts-statistics/. It would be a global challenge because of the lack of available land for agriculture.
Agriculture is already competing with development for use of forested lands. Around 20% of the world’s forests have been cleared since 1960 and if deforestation continues, it will threaten food security. Research shows that for every 1% decrease in forest cover, there is likely to be a 50-100% increase in the number of people at risk of hunger and malnutrition. If we continue cutting trees, we would lose more forest cover, making it almost impossible to get food for all of us.
It’s a Threat To Human Lives
It was estimated that annually there are around 10 million hectares of forested land lost which affects the climate and water cycle, making us vulnerable to floods and droughts. Deforestation also affects the lives of the people who use that area as their home.
Poorly managed forests can produce hazardous fuels. When humid wood is not properly dried before it is burned, the resulting charcoal emits more carbon monoxide, ash, smoke, and particulate matter than wood that has been dried. Deforestation causes around 12% of greenhouse gas emissions!
Also, forests are the most efficient carbon sinks on Earth so, if deforestation continues it can affect our lives by increasing temperatures or cause unpredictable weather changes.
Another dangerous effect of deforestation is soil erosion and food security. Deforestation increases the risk of soil erosion in two ways: Firstly, when trees are removed from a plot of land, they can be exposed to rainfall and wind so the soil will not be able to absorb water and nutrients anymore. Secondly, without tree roots holding the soil together, heavy rainfall causes floods and can lead to crop failure.
Contributes to Climate Change
Deforestation contributes to climate change in many ways. The crucial role of forests in the global carbon cycle cannot be overstated. As trees soak up carbon dioxide, deforestation causes an increase in greenhouse gases which can further raise the temperature and cause unpredictable weather changes.
Of course, the carbon cycle is complex but it’s important to note that trees are significant in removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Cutting or burning of forests causes a release of CO2 back into the air which contributes to higher temperatures and causes harsher weather conditions.
What Could Be Done To Fight Deforestation?
Eating Less Meat Helps Stop Deforestation
Our diet has a big impact on deforestation. Animal farming is responsible for around 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide! By eating less meat you can help fight climate change which would also reduce the number of hectares of farmland lost to livestock. Also, raising animals takes more land than raising crops so if animal farming isn’t necessary, don’t do it!
Clean Energy Can Help End Deforestation
One of the most effective ways to stop deforestation is by using clean energy. If we all switch from coal and oil to renewable sources like solar, wind or hydro-energy, deforestation would decrease. In order to achieve a zero-deforestation world, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. By using renewable energy instead of coal and oil, we can reduce the number of hectares that are used to produce electricity.
Electricity produced by clean sources like solar panels requires no deforestation! Educating others about the importance of leaving forests alone is also helpful because more people will begin to realize how important it is for our planet.
Buy Less Industrial and Transformed Products
Buying less modern and transformed products is also a big step towards fighting deforestation. When we buy products that are made from wood or cotton, we help the economy of developing countries but it also encourages deforestation because those products are produced by clearing land for farmland. Remember that if more people start buying fewer modern and transformed products, fewer potential forests will be cut down.
Deforestation is a problem that needs to be addressed. We’ve discussed how much they influence our lives and what we can do about this. It is up to you to take responsibility and educate others about it too.
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