Minor or major, environmental issues affect every living being on earth, be it the smallest parasite or the human race. That is, a small disruption on earth can destruct the very place that cradles the lives of many species. One such issue that largely requires global consideration is deforestation. In simple terms, deforestation means clearing of the forests by logging and/or burning (also called slash and burn) trees. In the present times, trees are being depleted at an alarmingly high rate. As per records, about 50 percent of the total tree covered area has been destroyed, all thanks to human activities. This massive destruction of the rainforests is affecting the biodiversity adversely. There are numerous causes that are leading to deforestation, resulting in various harmful consequences. Read on further to find out the causes and effects of deforestation.
- Trees are a major source of lumber that is used for building various materials, such as furniture and paper products.
- Forests are cleared to provide accommodation for the expanding urban and residential population.
- In most countries, forests are cut down to create plenty of land for grazing cattle.
- Another reason for cutting down trees is the utilization of the land for growing crops and other agricultural products.
- Developing countries require fuel for cooking and heating purposes and what better than trees can be to serve this requirement. Thus, trees are chopped down to be used as firewood or charcoal.
- Forests are also depleted for oil and mining exploitation.
- Other reasons for deforestation include slash and burn farming techniques, wildfires, acid rain and making highways and roads.
The roots of the rainforest trees and vegetation secure the soil. Cutting them exposes the soil to the sun, making it excessively dry, thereby resulting in an infertile soil. To add on, the soil is washed away by the rain removing with it most of the nutrients. The soil reaching the water makes it muddy, resulting in the death of the fish. Eventually, the rivers become shallow making them unreliable for navigation by the humans. This leads to starvation of the people and an increase in the spread of deadly diseases, such as malaria.
Floods & Drought
Forests are a life saver, as they absorb a large amount of the rainfall, thereby stopping it from entering the inhabited areas and rivers. The cutting down of trees leads to disruption in the regular flow of water, thus causing floods in some areas, while drought in other areas.
Change In The Climate
Global warming is one of the largest consequences of deforestation. Since there are fewer trees left for absorbing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, these gases are released into the atmosphere, thereby increasing the temperature of the land and water. Also, deforestation leads to releasing of carbon that is stored in the trees in the form of carbon dioxide.
Disruption Of The Water Cycle
Trees play a major role in balancing the water cycle. The water drawn by the trees through their roots is released into the atmosphere, resulting in rains. However, when tree are cut, the climate gets drier in that area, receiving less rain or no rain at all.