Deforestation is the clearing of trees and though it has always happened, it has become a major problem in recent years due to the rapidly increasing rate at which trees are being destroyed.
Deforestation occurs for a variety of reasons regarding need for space or a need for resources from the trees. Almost half the deforestation in the world takes place to clear room for self-sufficient farming; this is mostly in less developed parts of the world. The removal of trees allows crops to be grown to feed local inhabitants of the area. Resources can also by local people for developing their communities by building houses, making fires for heat or cooking and for making tools.
A large portion of deforestation is also for commercial farming- this produces crops for wholesale to retail outlets; this is common in more developed countries. The space may also be used to set up factories or rubber plantations. Other large scale industries rely on deforestation to provide the resources necessary for modern day activity; such resources include palm oil and paper. Logging and need for fuel wood contributes to deforestation and in some cases it occurs illegally. Logging can take place for many reasons involving the use of timber.
Though deforestation takes place all over the world, it is currently a great threat in areas of South
America (but is also a major issue in South Africa and parts of Asia). Of course, it was first a problem in the currently developed parts of the world- such as England. The removal of forests allowed modern towns to be constructed. However, the issue Is becoming more alarming in areas like South
America where deforestation is still happening on a large scale due to the demand from many industries and the extreme growth in world population. South America is also home to some of the world’s greatest rainforests- “the lungs of the earth”- so deforesting such areas could carry more threat than others.
Deforestation has come to light as a real problem for the environment for many reasons. Firstly, it upsets the major environmental cycles. The water cycle is affected by the loss of trees because less water is able to be absorbed by the roots of trees and more reaches the soil which is not sheltered by the trees any longer. This is an issue because it means that areas can become waterlogged and soil can be washed away and minerals can be leeched, leaving infertile land. Furthermore, water is not able to be transpired by trees and so could lead to a lack of rainfall in some areas.
The carbon cycle is also very much affected by deforestation. Trees photosynthesise and use carbon dioxide in this process so without them the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would increase significantly. This build-up of carbon dioxide could not only upset the carbon cycle but also contribute to global warming as it is a greenhouse gas that prevents heat energy from the sun leaving the earth’s atmosphere. Even small