Deforestation: Compromises of a Growing World
With the world growing at a pace hard to match, the increasing need for space is turning out to be an area of concern. With desperate need for land for agricultural, industrial and most importantly urban needs to contain cities and their growing population, a direct action that we have come to recognize as “Deforestation” occurs. Deforestation in simple term means the felling and clearing of forest cover or tree plantations in order to accommodate agricultural, industrial or urban use. It involves permanent end of forest cover to make that land available for residential, commercial or industrial purpose.
Over the last century the forest cover around the globe has been greatly compromised, leaving the green cover down to an all time low of about 30 per cent. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest are lost each year.
Deforestation can also be seen as removal of forests leading to several imbalances ecologically and environmentally. What makes deforestation alarming is the immediate and long term effects it is bound to inflict if continued at the current pace. Some predictions state that the rainforests of the world will be destroyed completely if deforestation continues at its current pace.
Read here more about 51 facts about deforestation.
Deforestation or clearance occurs due to several reasons, to get an overview we could include the need of money, both in terms of profitability as well as providing for one’s family in most scenarios, along with lack of or no forest laws, need for land space for housing etc among a long list of other uses. Mainly blamed on agricultural or pastoral use, farmers fell trees for increasing space for cultivation and/or as fodder land for grazing and surviving live stock. The whole concept of ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, is used to indicate this same process where farmers employ the above chain of actions for their purposes.
Causes of Deforestation
1. Agricultural Activities: As earlier mentioned in the overview, agricultural activities are one of the major factors affecting deforestation. Due to overgrowing demand for food products, huge amount of tress are fell down to grow crops and for cattle gazing.
2. Logging: Apart from this, wood based industries like paper, match-sticks, furniture etc also need a substantial amount of wood supply. Wood is used as fuel both directly and indirectly, therefore trees are chopped for supplies. Firewood and charcoal are examples of wood being used as fuel. Some of these industries thrive on illegal wood cutting and felling of trees.
3. Urbanization: Further on order to gain access to these forests, the construction of roads are undertaken; here again trees are chopped to create roads. Overpopulation too directly affects forest covers, as with the expansion of cities more land is needed to establish housing and settlements. Therefore forest land is reclaimed.
4. Desertification of land: Some of the other factors that lead to deforestation are also part natural and part anthropogenic like Desertification of land. It occurs due to land abuse making it unfit for growth of trees. Many industries in petrochemicals release their waste into rivers which results in soil erosion and make it unfit to grow plants and trees.
5. Mining: Oil and coal mining require considerable amount of forest land. Apart from this, roads and highways have to be built to make way for trucks and other equipment. The waste that comes out from mining pollutes the environment and affects the nearby species.
6. Forest Fires: Another example would be forest blazes; Hundreds of trees are lost each year due to forest fires in various portions of the world. This happens due to extreme warm summers and milder winters. Fires, whether causes by man or nature results in huge loss of forest cover.
Effects of Deforestation
1. Climate Imbalance: Deforestation also