Essay on Deforestation

Words: 1160
Pages: 5

The Earth's environment is in great ecological turmoil due to mankind's ignorance towards the plight the forests. The overexploitation of forests at an alarming rate is spurred by humanity's need to accommodate its social, political and economic demands. Woodlands are continually being pulverized and shattered for logs, converted into agricultural pastures and plantations, urban areas and ultimately being transformed into barren lands. They are being stripped of their vegetation, sullied and severely degraded. Moreover, this clearing of trees, better known as the problem of deforestation, intensifies the greenhouse effect (which greatly contributes to global warming), significantly alters the water cycle, heightens the rate of soil erosion (which may eventually lead to soil runoff and floods), and assists in extreme loss of biodiversity (Hynes 179-180). If this treachery persists, life may cease to exist.

Although there may be several factors that abet the rate deforestation such as urbanization, logging, mining and damming, agricultural expansion is the most prevalent (World Book 352). There are quite a number of reasons for why it is so. For instance, shifted cultivators establish small-scale farming areas (subsistence agriculture), companies station vast plantations, and the slash and burn method of deforestation is utilized by cattle ranchers, but all in all, it is to satisfy the economic, social and political needs of the people. In addition, according to Daniel Howden of The Independent, "Within in the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London

to New York and stopping the loggers is the fastest and cheapest solution to climate change." (Independent) That being said, reforestation and sustainable land management practices should be implemented by both the local and national government since it prevents natural calamities such as flashfloods or landslides from occurring, reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and provides a suitable habitat for various species of flora and fauna.

A number of various consequences or problems may arise if rampant deforestation is not put to a halt. Of these is the drastic change in the water cycle. When the water cycle is altered, it results into the dangerous event of sediment runoff or soil erosion which may sequentially lead the life-threatening occurrence of flash floods or perhaps landslides. The presence of trees is vital to the prevention of flash floods because when precipitation falls, they aid in the evaporation and absorption of excess water. Having lush greenery helps lessen the impact of falling rain and slows its raging flow. If there is no longer a massive system of tree roots to hold the soil in place and to provide air pockets through which water can seep into the ground, severe calamities such as flash floods and landslides may take place (Tesar 71). To prevent that, sustainable land management practices and reforestation should be implemented by both the local and national government.

It is a known fact that trees assist in minimizing the amount of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. This is because trees and other forms of vegetation act as a major storage depot for carbon, an abundant greenhouse gas. They have the remarkable ability to trap carbon dioxide and utilize it during photosynthesis and in turn producing oxygen as a by-product for the human race to benefit from. Moreover, it is said that forests in the US annually absorb and store about 750 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, an amount equivalent to 10% of the country's carbon dioxide emissions (McKettrick). Though that may somewhat be a reason to celebrate, due to the current situation of global deforestation, whenever trees are cut or burnt, they release the carbon that has been stored within them their entire lifetime into the atmosphere, thus intensifying the greenhouse effect. In addition,