The Ramifications of Deforestation
Deforestation can be defined as the cutting down of trees on a massive scale. In other words, it is the price we had to pay for the developments that have happened and are still happening in the field of infrastructure and industrialization. We build gargantuan buildings and residential colonies after cutting down a large number of trees. The agricultural sector is also to be blamed for this deforestation. The farmers cut down the trees to provide more space for agriculture.
As of now, about 31% of our planet is covered with forests. As per the prediction made by the NASA, all the rainforests would vanish off from the face of the earth within the next hundred years if the current deforestation levels persist. What we fail to realize is that deforestation is dangerous to the environment and all the living organisms on this planet.
Causes of Deforestation
There are many reasons for which we cut down trees on a large scale in our everyday life. Some of these reasons are mentioned below.
- For logging operations to obtain wood for construction purposes and also to make paper.
- To extend the agricultural area
- To build new infrastructures
- Mining activities to get the various minerals and metals from the forest area.
- Forest fires
- Livestock ranching
The Impacts of Deforestation
Deforestation affects not only the living organisms but also the whole atmosphere. Let us have a look at the various impacts of the deforestation.
On Wild Life: More than 80% of the living organisms live in the forests. Hence, deforestation will make them deprived of their homes. These wild animals will not be able to survive in the absence of forests. This also affects the tribal people who depend on these forests and wild animals for their food. The medical research which relies on the trees and animals also will be affected due to this deforestation.
On Soil: Soil erosion is mainly prevented by the trees. The roots of the trees hold the soil in its place during the heavy rains, especially in the hilly areas. In the absence of trees, the soil gets easily washed away along with the running water.
On Water: Due to the soil erosion, the soil gets deposited in the lakes and rivers. Thus, the water bodies get easily contaminated due to deforestation. The water-cycle also will be affected in the absence of trees. The rainwater is absorbed by the trees and then, eventually, the water vapor is released by them into the atmosphere which again produces rain. This process will not happen without the help of trees.
On Climate: Global warming is the main consequence of deforestation. In the absence of the trees, the level of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. Thus, the temperature of the earth also will gradually increase, which will be harmful to all the living organisms.
On Health: The impure water bodies can cause various diseases to us. The exposure to the infra-red radiations due to the absence of trees can even cause skin cancer. Thus, the health of the overall population will get affected due to deforestation.
Some people believe that deforestation can be countered by planting more trees. But this alone, will not reduce the consequences of deforestation. Planting trees on a large scale, can but alleviate some of the problems such as:
- Restoration of the animal habitat, and
- Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
But the animal and plant life which have already been lost due to deforestation cannot be resurrected by any means. Hence, deforestation is a practice which has to be stopped immediately if we want to save the remaining plant and animal life. Moreover, the loss of these wild lives will also affect the entire food chain. This is yet another threat to the human lives.
Many construction companies nowadays, build artificial forests in the residential buildings to compensate for the loss of the forests. They also try to maintain the forest areas which are adjacent to their plots. Many booking websites also nowadays prompt people to reduce the habit of printing tickets and hence, save the trees.
The most feasible solution to save the Earth and the living beings on it is by decreasing the deforestation levels. The UN has marked the 21st of March as the International Day of Forests to highlight the importance of forests in our lives. Hence, to maintain the quality of the lives of all the living beings, the forests have to be retained.